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McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR. 

TEACHING BY 
ILLUSTRATION 

Containing a variety of Illustrations (and some 
extracts) from Literature, History, Biography , 
Current Events and Personal Reminiscences. 

With an Introduction by The Right Rev. 
BISHOP E. GRAHAM INGHAM, D.D. 

Cloth, 3s. 6d. net. 

Bishop Ingham says : — 

" Next to my Bible, I should like to have this book near 
me when I am preparing a sermon. . . . The teacher 
who labours to make his Master's message grip men's 
minds and souls, will find in it much to help him." 

FIRST REVIEWS. 

" I trust the book will be widely welcomed, and help 
in its useful measure in quickening that vital implement 
in our work— the power of the pulpit." — The late Dr. Hartley 
Moule, Bishop of Durham. 

" It needs but to become fairly generally known, and 
ts future is assured." — Archdeacon R. C. Joynt. 

"This book ought to be of value both in calling our 
attention to the matter, and in supplying us with material 
for its pursuit." — Dr. Tait, Principal of Ridley Hall, 
Cambridge. 




THE REV. J. B. MCCULLAGH. 



McCULLAGH OF 
AIYANSH 



BY 

J. W. W. MOERAN, M.A. 

Sometime Vicar of St. Simon's, Southsea 
Author of " Teaching by Illustration," etc. 



MARSHALL BROTHERS, LIMITED 
LONDON EDINBURGH NEW YORK 




Ml 5 I 



PROLOGUE 

THIS book is not so much the history of a Mission as 
it is the story of the man who was the life and soul 
of the Mission. It is primarily a biography, written with 
the purpose of portraying the character and gifts of James 
Benjamin McCullagh, and of showing how he applied 
his talents to the pioneering enterprise and subsequent 
development of the work he had undertaken. 

As the greater part of his life was spent in a far-distant 
and out-of-the-way corner of the world, he was neces- 
sarily known only to a limited number of people. Those 
who enjoyed the privilege of his friendship and were 
acquainted with the marvellous work he accomplished will 
ever remember him for the inspiration of his personality 
and example and also for the attractive winsomeness of 
his delightful humour and joyous temperament. The 
aim of his biography is to make him known to a wider 
circle, in the hope that others too may be inspired and 
helped by the story of his faith, his courage, his un- 
ceasing labours and the full use he made of his splendid 
gifts. 

The privilege of attempting to do this has been 
entrusted to me by his widow. 

It will be seen that the story is told, as far as possible, 
in the missionary's own words. His letters and journals, 
together with a few booklets and articles written by him- 
self and published during his lifetime by the Church 
Missionary Society, and also a collection of sketches 
penned by his hand with the obvious intention of being 
some day published, have supplied an abundance of 

5 



6 PROLOGUE 

material for preparing and linking together the incidents 
and events which show the strength and beauty of his 
many-sided character. 

I desire to express my indebtedness to the Church 
Missionary Society for giving me permission to draw so 
freely from Mr. McCullagh's writings published by them. 
Mr. C. B. Robinson and the late Mrs. Foquett preserved 
for many years the missionary's journals and very many 
of his private letters, all of which were generously placed 
at my disposal. Without such help the book could not 
have been written. 

To Mrs. McCullagh I owe more than I can say for the 
way in which she has enabled me to understand many 
things about her husband which otherwise I should never 
have known. By what she has told me in conversation, 
and by allowing me to read some of the letters he wrote 
to her, I learned much about his inner life. 

I should like also to acknowledge my great obligation 
to the Archdeacon of Kingston (the Ven. R. C. Joynt) 
for the invaluable help he has given me by reading the 
book in MS. and afterwards in correcting the proofs. 

The work has been to me one of absorbing interest, as 
well as a labour of love. 

J. W. W, MOERAN. 
Laverton, near Bath, 
January, 1923. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 

I A Great Renunciation 

II Westward Ho ! . 

III The Land of the Setting Sun 

IV Tkaganlakhatqu . 
V The Dawn of a New Day . 

VI Early Morning Clouds 

VII The Language and Education of a People 

VIII The Red Man as a Heathen 

IX The Red Man as a Christian 

X The Art of Healing . 

XI Indian Fishing Camps and Salmon Rivers 

XII A Forward Movement. 

XIII The Realization of a Splendid Dream 

XIV Gathering in the Heathen. 

XV The Church Militant . 

XVI Vengeance and Reconciliation 

XVII Through Deep Waters 

XVIII The Salvage of a Derelict Mission 

XIX The Shore End of the Net 

XX Sunlight and Shadows on the Naas 

7 



PAGE 
9 

16 

21 

26 
32 

36 
4i 
50 
62 

7° 
83 
93 
105 
112 
116 
125 
134 
141 

149 
T 55 



8 


CONTENTS 








CHAP. 


PAGE 


XXI 


Fighting a Forest Fire 


. 164 


XXII 


Burned Out 






. 169 


XXIII 


Relapse and Revival . 






. 181 


XXIV 


The White Man . 






. 187 


XXV 


With Voice and Pen . 






. 194 


XXVI 


The Flood . 






. 204 


XXVII 


Sunset .... 






. 211 


XXVIII 


Character and Service 
Epilogue 






. 223 
. 231 



list of illustrations 



Portrait ...... Frontispiece 

The Coast of British Columbia, showing Aiyansh and District 

Translating the Bible 

Nishga Chief wearing State Blanket 

The Rev. J. B. McCullagh in the Dress of an Indian Medicine 
Man ........ 

Early Spring on the Naas ..... 

Indian Bridge across the Naas . . . 

Holy Trinity Church, Aiyansh .... 

Building the New House at Aiyansh . . . 

New Mission House at Aiyansh .... 

The Rev. J. B. McCullagh 

Mrs. McCullagh, with Jean, Nancy and Pat . 



21 

4i 
58 

76 

84 

9i 
106 
178 
192 
196 
205 



McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

CHAPTER I 

A Great Renunciation 

AMONG the noble characters who have spent their 
lives in the service of humanity are men whose 
work is known because they held high positions in the 
State or in the Church. They had the advantage of 
family traditions or influential friends, a University degree, 
the interest which wealth can always purchase ; or, if 
these things were wanting, great opportunities came their 
way ; the conditions or circumstances of their lot helped 
to make them famous. Their deeds of philanthropy or 
the achievements of their genius are written in large type 
on the pages of national history or public events. Other 
men, equally endowed by nature, equally faithful in the 
use they made of their natural gifts, have fulfilled the task 
allotted to them in some humble sphere of labour, and 
have died in obscurity, the outside world knowing little 
or nothing of their unselfishness, their fidelity, or the 
splendid influence of their example, by which those who 
knew them were inspired and uplifted. 

It is also true to say that some men need the stimulus 
of popular approval and encouragement. They could 
make a fine display on the stage of publicity, all their 
efforts being seen to advantage in the glare of the foot- 
lights ; but without such an incitement to action their 
energies are not aroused. They fail to respond to the call 
of humble duties ; they do not shine in places remote 
from the observation of onlookers ; they settle down to 
lives of ease and pleasure if they see no prospect of 
becoming known to fame. 

9 



io McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






On the other hand, there are men gifted head and 
shoulders above the common order of their fellows ; con- 
scious of their power to win celebrity under circumstances 
favourable to renown ; but they can never stretch out 
beyond the reach of their limited opportunities, and of 
these they make the noblest use, expending the very 
best of all they are and have to the utmost ; willing to 
endure the reproach of ignominy for Christ's sake, 

Content to fill a little space, 
If God be glorified ; 

choosing rather to be unknown if thereby they can help 
others to rise from the depths of moral shame and de- 
gradation to the heights of noble living and heavenly 
aspirations. 

To those who enjoyed the privilege of knowing him 
the Rev. J. B. McCullagh has left behind him the fragrant 
memory of a character strong and tender, true and brave : 
an intellect superior to most men ; and the example of one 
who never courted popularity ; who only sought to make 
his work known for the purpose of enlisting the sympathy 
of those able to help him in his beneficent schemes for the 
religious and moral advancement of the Indian settlement 
at Aiyansh, which he loved more than any spot on the 
earth. 

During one of his furloughs, after thrilling a crowded 
audience at Exeter Hall with one of his eloquent and racy 
speeches, he said : " I would far rather go back to work 
among my Indians at Aiyansh than do this sort of thing 
in London.' ' 

James Benjamin McCullagh was born in County Down, 
Ireland, in 1854, ms father being the agent on a landed 
estate near Newry. 

At quite an early age he gave evidence of the qualities 
by which in after years his character was so strongly 
marked. 

On one occasion, at the country school where he was 
being educated, he was accused of some offence which he 



A GREAT RENUNCIATION n 

knew had been committed by another boy ; but he refused 
to tell the name of the real culprit. The master, a harsh 
and brutal man, said he would flog M Jimmy " unless he 
confessed, or else named the wrong-doer. This he refused 
to do ; so the master began to beat him. Not a sound 
came from the lips of his innocent victim, who had made 
up his mind that he would not cry : nor did he. Jimmy 
went home, but said nothing of what had happened until 
the evening came and his mother went to bath him as 
usual. To her horror she found the child was covered 
with bruises caused by the beating he had received. At 
once she called her husband to come and look at the boy. 
Mr. McCullagh, naturally, was greatly incensed when he 
found what had been done. The next morning he went to 
the school to make his complaint ; and it is a satisfaction 
to be able to record that shortly afterwards the master was 
dismissed. 

In writing of his boyhood, long years afterwards, 
McCullagh said : 

" As a boy my out-of-school time was invariably spent 
where some mechanical operation was going on ; now 
in the village forge, prying into everything ; now in the 
carpenter's shop (my favourite place) ; now in the sad- 
dler's, the shoemaker's, the garden, greenhouse, etc., etc., 
so that there is hardly an operation, apart from com- 
plicated mechanism, of which I do not carry a fair text- 
book in my head. They used to say to me, ' Oh, you'll 
never be anything ; you keep changing about too much ; 
you'll only be a jack-of -all- trades ! • and behold ! that is 
the very thing I, unconsciously, needed most to be." 

It was from his mother that McCullagh, as a child, 
received his first religious impressions. Throughout his 
life he always spoke of her with deep reverence and love, 
gratefully acknowledging how much he owed to her wise 
teaching and saintly influence. 

At the age of ten years he was taken to a missionary 
meeting. The story there told of the condition of the 
heathen world — its cruelty and misery and ignorance of 
God, and its need of a Saviour — made a deep impression 



12 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

on the boy's mind. He felt that he must take his share 
and do something " to give light to them that sit in dark- 
ness and in the shadow of death." 

So the next day he started with a collecting box, knock- 
ing at the doors of all the people he knew and asking for 
contributions to the object which had awakened his 
spiritual sympathies and fired his generous impulses. 
He continued doing this for some time, and occasionally 
went such long distances into the country as to lose 
his way. But these journeys were too limited in scope 
to satisfy the boy's enthusiasm for the cause he had 
espoused. Even at that early age he possessed a fertile 
imagination and was resourceful in devising schemes for 
carrying out the purpose on which his heart was set. So 
he begged from his father three lambs whose mothers had 
died ; burrowing a hole in a haystack to serve as a warm 
home for the little creatures, he made a leathern bottle 
with which to supply them with milk. His intention was 
to nourish and feed them until they should grow into 
sheep ; then he would sell them and with the purchase- 
money buy a donkey on which to ride further afield in 
his journeys to obtain funds for his beloved missionary 
work. Alas, however, for the success of his scheme ! the 
lambs died, and the boy had to learn thus early in life the 
lesson so often enforced in later years, that even the 
noblest and highest work can be checked for a time by 
difficulty and discouragement. 

Side by side with his interest in foreign missions 
another strong desire grew in the lad's mind. From his 
earliest years he had a longing for the Army ; he was a 
born soldier. When he was old enough to decide on a 
profession there was only one which had any attraction 
for him. His father's death crippled the family finances 
so much that his education was left very incomplete, and 
the purchase of a Commission had to be abandoned. 
Rather than be balked of his purpose, young McCullagh 
enlisted as a private soldier. Although in many depart- 
ments of knowledge he was entirely self-educated, yet his 
natural ability and faithfulness to duty took him easily 



A GREAT RENUNCIATION 13 

from one step to another until he was promoted to carry 
the colours as a sergeant. 

But his love for the Army and his devotion to military 
duties were not allowed to absorb the finer instincts of 
his nature. The religious aspirations of his childhood had 
not been quenched but rather grew in depth and vigour 
with his ripening manhood. By the grace of God and 
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit he developed into 
an earnest Christian man, with the definite purpose of 
consecrating his talents and energy to the service of his 
Redeemer. This nobler ambition took shape in his mind 
and grew alongside of his desire to excel in the military 
profession. It led him to start a Bible-class among his 
comrades, in which he infused into many a young soldier 
a zeal for God and the love of Christ. His passion for 
souls at that time was so great that he endeavoured to 
train some of these young men for service in the Church. 
Several of them are now working in the mission field. 

Then came the climax of his military career. It was 
in the year 1883, when McCullagh was 29 years of age. 
The regiment was at that time stationed at Malta. One 
day his commanding officer sent for him and said : 

" I have the pleasure of informing you that you are to 
receive a Commission in the Army — an honour to which 
you are entitled by your social gifts and education, and 
which you have richly deserved by the faithfulness and 
efficiency you have always shown in the discharge of your 
military duties." 

But God had another plan for His servant. On the 
very day when the Commission was offered to him he 
received a letter from the Committee of the Church 
Missionary Society, asking him if he was willing to give 
up the Army and go out to work among the Red Indians 
of British Columbia. 

We have no record of the struggle of conflicting emo- 
tions that must have been waged in the young soldier's 
heart ; but we can easily imagine how severe was the test ; 
and we know the result. The alluring prospect of a life 
he loved, holding out the promise of worldly advancement 



i 4 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

in a sphere for which he knew himself to be endowed with 
exceptional gifts, was refused ; and in its place he accepted 
the humble lot of a lay-missionary to a tribe of degraded 
Indians, with the certain prospect of toil and privation, 
and the probability of an obscure grave in a far-distant 
and lonely part of the world. 

It was a great renunciation, but it was one he never 
regretted. Here it may be said that the old passion of 
his early manhood was never quite killed. It was kept 
under and lay dormant until something aroused it to 
reassert its former hold on the mind and imagination. 
In after years McCullagh could never hear a military band 
or witness a parade of soldiers without the old ambition 
surging up in his breast. 

I remember well one day during the Great War, as we 
walked together through the streets of Great Yarmouth 
and a troop of cavalry came along. McCullagh stood still 
as they passed by, drawn up to his full height with a 
gleam of fire kindling in his clear blue eyes. " See them/' 
he exclaimed, with outstretched arm, " the brave bonny 
lads. How splendid they look ! Oh ! " he added with 
emotion, " I never can see these boys going by but the 
old longing comes over me, and I feel as though I would 
give anything to leap into the saddle with them, or march 
with them in the ranks and go out to take my share in 
fighting this great conspiracy against the peace and civili- 
zation of the world." 

About this time another important step in his life was 
taken in his engagement to Mary Philippa Webster, a 
daughter of the English Chaplain at Malta. They were 
married a few months afterwards before leaving England 
for their future home in British Columbia. 

Some preparation for his work in the mission field being 
necessary, McCullagh was sent by the C.M.S. for a few 
months to the Training College at Cheltenham, where 
he lived in the house of Mr. T. Lyon, one of the College 
tutors. Writing in April of last year (1922), Mr. Lyon 
says : 

Mr. . McCullagh proved himself a most desirable addition 






A GREAT RENUNCIATION 15 

to my family circle. He was almost my own age, and soon 
became my companion. My wife and I feel that we owe him 
much. Our three children learned to love him, and they hold 
his name to this day in affectionate remembrance. He conducted 
the children's services at the Mission Hall in Trinity parish, and 
in doing this he showed himself to be eminently fitted for the 
spiritual side of the work that was to be his, and many survivors 
of that period remember most gratefully the unsparing and 
indefatigable way in which he also worked gratuitously for the 
uplifting of some of the poorest people in Cheltenham. At the 
Training College he threw himself with characteristic whole- 
heartedness into the studies, the sports, and the social life of his 
fellow-students. He gave himself no airs on the strength of 
his seniority ; he was utterly devoid of affectation, and the 
younger men with whom he was brought into constant touch 
received him into their brotherhood as one of themselves. The 
teaching staff of the College soon realized that he was a man of 
very exceptional ability and of the most intense purpose. For 
nearly forty years it has been my lot to labour there, and during 
that time I have encountered no student who turned his oppor- 
tunities to better account than J. B. McCullagh, and I am only 
repeating in my own case the opinions of the other members 
of the staff who were then my colleagues and of whom I am the 
sole survivor. On the rare occasions of his return to England 
he never failed to get into personal touch with us, to our intense 
pleasure. Our memories of him are the happiest, and I regard 
him as one of the finest embodiments of Christian manliness that 
it has ever been my privilege to encounter. 



CHAPTER II 

Westward Ho ! 

" A ND so you are going abroad again/' said a frier d 

XJL to me, as we walked up and down the platform 
of a London railway station. 

" Yes," I replied, " I am off to British Columbia." 

" British Columbia ! " he exclaimed. " I know the name, 
but that is about all. Do you know what sort of a 
country it is, and what you are going to do there ? " 

"As to where it is, and what the country is like, I 
really do not know any more than one can find out from 
the map," I replied ; " and as to what I am going to do 
there, I am going out as a C.M.S. missionary to the 
Indians." 

This explanation was met by an amused look of 
astonishment, a long low whistle, and " Well, I never ! " 
M But there," said he, changing his tone, " you were always 
that way inclined." 

" And how long are you going to stay out there ? " 
asked another friend. To which question I could only 
answer, " Can't say ; years, I hope." 

This was in June, 1883, as the young missionary and his 
wife were commencing their long journey to the Far West. 
Leaving Liverpool, a voyage of eight days brought them 
across the Atlantic and up the great St. Lawrence River 
to Montreal, where they booked their places on the train 
for Vancouver, at that time the western terminus of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway. The rail journey lasted from 
six to seven days, and even then it was made easy by 
the many modern conveniences and comforts of the 
American railway carriages. 

16 



WESTWARD HO! 17 

McCullagh was gifted with keen powers of observation, 
an intense love of nature and the genius for describing 
in picturesque and graphic language the wonderful sights 
unfolded to his vision in the grandeur of mountains and 
the beauty of forest and river. Thus he wrote of the 
Rocky Mountains, as he saw them for the first time from 
the " observation car " attached to the train while the 
magnificent range was being surmounted : " Mighty 
wooded slopes, proudly towering battlements, cold blue 
fields of ice, and snow-capped peaks surround you and 
impress you with wondering awe. Rushing torrents, 
foaming and dashing in the sombre depths of yawning 
cafions, now to the right of you and again to the left, 
thrill you with their thundering roar. From over the 
giddy precipice above leaps forth the overflow of moun- 
tain lakes replete with irresistible energy and dazzling 
self-abandonment ; and there, in columns of ascending 
spray, behold the colours of the rainbow, bright and 
clear." 

Having crossed the Rocky Mountains, they found 
themselves in British Columbia, and, skirting the Fraser 
River, reached Vancouver, then the youngest city of the 
Dominion of Canada. Here the overland journey ter- 
minated. By a saloon steamer they crossed the Straits 
of Georgia to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, 
situated on the southern point of Vancouver Island. 
Desiring to get north as soon as possible they took passage 
on board the Otter, a small steamer combining a very 
primitive passenger accommodation with a general cargo, 
including coals, timber and oxen. The Otter took the 
" inner passsage," that is, the course between the main- 
land and the island of Vancouver, a distance of some 
300 miles. The whole coast of British Columbia is em- 
broidered with islands, on many of which in those days 
no white man had ever yet set his foot. Eventually 
they reached the Skeena River, where the salmon fisheries 
were in full swing. At the wharf a motley crowd was 
assembled — Chinese, Europeans, Indians and children. 

Leaving the Skeena on the seventh day of their voyage 

B 



18 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

they soon reached the well-known Indian town of Met- 
lakahtla. 

" We thought we were going to be stationed at this 
place, but on landing discovered that our final destination 
was to be at the head waters of the Naas River, farther 
north among the Nishga Indians. Accordingly we began 
to make preparations for this last trip. The first thing 
necessary was to get together some bedding, provisions 
and cooking utensils. All the bedding we could get just 
then, however, was a few Indian trade blankets and a bark 
mat ; while the provisions consisted of tinned meats and 
other kindred things, ship's biscuit, coffee, tea, etc. As 
for cooking utensils, we had to learn to do with very few. 
Then we hired a canoe, engaged a crew of Indians, and, 
having stowed our belongings as best we could, started 
on our journey. The Indian canoe of British Columbia 
is cut out of one solid piece of timber, generally a cedar 
tree, and as these trees grow to very large dimensions, the 
canoes can be made proportionately large and shaped 
gracefully.' * 

Early the next morning the missionary and his party 
set out from Metlakahtla, and in the afternoon reached 
Port Simpson, an important trading post of the Hudson 
Bay Company, meeting with a warm welcome from the 
officer in charge of the station. 

" About four o'clock we again resumed our journey, 
and camped for the night some ten miles farther on. 
Drawing into a little bay, we pitched our tent upon the 
shingly beach and, lopping off a number of small branches 
from the adjacent cedars, spread these over the stones 
inside our tent, laying our blankets on the top. The 
branches made a very good spring mattress, but we were 
awfully hard up for pillows. A bag of rice, however, 
made a good pillow for my wife, while something rolled 
up in my ulster coat to give it bulk, with the help of a 
small bag of potatoes, made for me a bolster. Of course 
we had supper — boiled potatoes, tinned corned beef, and 
tea ; while the Indians discussed smoked salmon, sea- 
weed, ship's biscuit and coffee. How strange it all seemed 



WESTWARD HO! 19 

to us, but how delightful ! But it was not quite so 
delightful towards morning, when the tide came fully in 
and its little lapping waves washed under our spring 
mattress. I always make a point of pitching my tent 
well up the beach since then ; there is nothing like ex- 
perience. 

" Breakfast in the rain ; but then the rain of British 
Columbia is one of its most agreeable features. Of course 
you are prepared for it, not with an umbrella, but with 
a ' gum ' suit. Gum boots, which come up to the thighs, 
and are held up by a strap round the waist, a long gum 
coat, and a gum hat. With a suit like that on you can sit 
in your canoe all day and enjoy the rain. 

" But how shall I tell you about canoeing on the Naas ? 
It is a mighty river as far as it goes, with a grand estuary, 
five miles across in some places, up or down which there 
is always a strong wind blowing. It was blowing up on 
this occasion, and the billows were rolling onward with 
foam-crested tops. Directly we got into the race there 
was no more laughter and joking among our crew. It 
was grand to see the captain's keen eye and set face, to 
watch him wield the steering paddle, now turning the 
canoe off a point to avoid the surging of too big a wave, 
and then bringing her up again with a swing to bound 
forward like a thing of life. 

" The tide affects the river for more than fifteen miles 
up, and for this distance the navigation is easy. There 
are many shoals and sand-banks, however, to be avoided, 
and one night we were left high and dry on one of these. 
Having sailed right on to it, we stuck fast ; and, as the 
tide was running out at the time we had to remain there 
until it came in again and floated us off. 

" Above the tide- water you must work along the bank 
with poles, the men standing in the canoe and using these 
ten or twelve feet poles with splendid dexterity. Some- 
times it is more convenient to use a towing-rope, that is, 
when skirting long reaches of sand or gravel on which 
the men can walk easily. 

" About seventy miles up the river there is a great 



20 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

' rapid ' or ' rapids,' to navigate which requires con- 
summate skill and knowledge of the various currents, etc. 
Ascending the ' rapids ' we had to work by stages, that is 
by putting out two or three men with a rope, who take 
up a position on the nearest and outermost rock and there 
haul up the canoe to that point ; then by putting them out 
again, and so on. There must, however, be a couple of 
men in the canoe beside the captain to keep her off the 
rocks with poles. 

" On one occasion, when half-way up the ' rapids/ our 
towing-rope broke and down we were being swept broad- 
side on to a sharp jutting rock. A young Indian in the 
canoe also broke his pole in endeavouring to stop her, 
but just as we were about to be precipitated upon this 
rock he vaulted out backwards and came down astride it, 
making a buffer of himself, and holding the canoe like 
a grappling-iron turned her bow up-stream and so saved 
us. 

",' Snags/ that is, fallen trees, whose roots have been 
caught in the river bed and whose tops float just beneath 
the surface, are very dangerous. If you strike on one 
of these your canoe may be split from stem to stern. 
Falling trees, when the water is high in summer, are also 
dangerous. Once we were resting in the shade of a large 
cottonwood tree, our canoe tied to its roots, when, almost 
before we could cut ourselves clear, the bank began to 
crumble away, and the tree became very shaky. Pre- 
sently down it came with a crash like thunder, sending 
up a column of water which nearly swamped us." 

Here we must break the thread of our story and make a 
digression into the history of the country and its people 
before resuming the personal narrative of the missionary's 
life and labours. 




THE COAST OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, SHOWING AIYANSH AND DISTRICT. 



CHAPTER III 

The Land of the Setting Sun 

BRITISH COLUMBIA was so named by Queen Vic- 
toria in 1858. The colony, as a province, had 
previously been known as New Caledonia, having been 
discovered more than half a century before. Two sons 
of Britain shared the honour of its discovery. In 1792-3 
Alexander Mackenzie crossed the Rocky Mountains, 
travelling from east to west. Simultaneously with his 
arrival at the coast, Captain George Vancouver, R.N., 
having explored the island to be named after him, reached 
the mainland, his ships terrifying the natives, who fled 
from the beach on the approach of what they considered 
to be a new species of sea-monster. British Columbia 
was the land of the Red Man until the fur-trader and the 
explorer came and took it from him. 

It is a country possessing wonderful natural assets and 
magnificent scenery. The timber resources of its vast 
forests are almost unlimited ; and their value is greatly 
increased by the water-power stored in its numerous 
rivers near ocean navigation. Until recent years maritime 
commerce between the British Isles and the Pacific 
coast was at a serious disadvantage compared with 
Canada east of the Rocky Mountains, The distance by 
Cape Horn from Liverpool to Victoria, British Columbia, 
was 14,558 miles, as against 2,456 miles from Liverpool 
to Halifax on the Atlantic. It was this difference in dis- 
tance which caused the lop-sided development of the 
American continent. The cutting of the Panama Canal, 
however, reduced the distance from 14,558 miles to 8,512. 
There is no finer country in the world for growing fruit. 

21 



22 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

In 192 1 British Columbia produced for export trade 
3,027,000 boxes of apples. In 19 10 she won the highest 
fruit prize in the Empire, the Hogg Memorial gold medal. 
At the Imperial Fruit Show of 1921 she carried off seven- 
teen medals, or more than all the other provinces com- 
bined. 1 For many months of the year it is a land of golden 
sunshine. " Vancouver Island has been called the 
Madeira of the Pacific ; British Columbia is the Riviera 
of Canada." 

The Red Indian of the North American continent 
belongs to a race in which it is impossible for the white 
man not to take a deep interest. He has sometimes 
been honoured by an exaggerated sentiment and in- 
vested with a halo of romance far outshining his real 
attributes. Fancy pictures have been drawn of him as a 
very noble savage, emulating the white man in deeds of 
heroism and chivalry. Pope's redskin was one who 
" sees God in clouds or hears Him in the wind," while a 
modern writer asks : " Breathes there a man with soul so 
dead, that he has never wished to be a Red Indian ? " 
Certainly most of us who were boys fifty years ago when 
we devoured Fenimore Cooper's stories would have given 
a great deal to see an Indian chief in his war-paint and 
feathers, paddling his own canoe or smoking the pipe of 
peace in his wigwam. However, those were the Indians 
of fiction, the creature of the novelist's imagination, 
ideal, not real characters. 

None the less for that, the Red children of the forest and 
the prairie still remain one of the most interesting and 
romantic races in the world. 

British Columbia has been inhabited by many tribes 
of Indians for centuries past. On the banks of the 
lakes and rivers inland their encampments were pitched. 
Others dwelt near the sea or on some of the many islands 

1 Most of these facts and figures are taken from a lecture on 
" British Columbia, the Awakening of the Pacific," delivered 
by Mr. F. C. Wade, K.C., the Agent-General for British Columbia, 
on December 7, 1921, before a crowded gathering of the Society 
of Arts. 



THE LAND OF THE SETTING SUN 23 

which fringe the coast, gaining a precarious livelihood by 
hunting and fishing, and latterly by trading with the white 
men who were attracted to the country by the valuable 
furs and the unlimited quantity of salmon procured for 
them by the natives. These Indians are not all alike. 

The Haidas of Queen Charlotte's Islands are a very fine 
race, as white as the average European. The Nishgas of 
the Naas River are tall, well-proportioned, flat-nosed, 
bronzed, some of the men wearing a beard or moustache. 
The various tribes speak different languages ; but since 
the country was opened up by the white man's invasion, 
they have learned to converse freely by means of a kind of 
lingua franca called " Chinook," a conglomeration of lan- 
guages both European and aboriginal. 

Without going into details, it is necessary to state for 
the better understanding and appreciation of the work 
accomplished by the Christian missionary, that these 
tribes were all, more or less, addicted to cruel practices 
and debasing customs, giving evidence of the depths of 
moral degradation into which human nature, left to itself, 
inevitably sinks. Dog-eaters and cannibals ranked very 
high, and were invested with the insignia of a noble order 
by their fellow- tribesmen. 

One of the most demoralizing customs of all was the 
Potlatch. This consisted of a series of feasts or tribal 
banquets, usually held on the accession of some one to the 
chieftainship, pandering to the vanity and pride of the 
chief himself, impoverishing his family and destroying the 
virtue of his women. 

And yet these people were not lacking in some of the 
finer instincts that distinguish the children of civilized 
lands. Among them was often to be found a craving for 
God. Where this is so, God does not leave a people to 
themselves. Wonderful are the ways of His Providence. 

In the year 1856 Captain (afterwards Admiral) Prevost, 
R.N., commanding H.M.S. Virago, returned to England 
after a surveying expedition along the seaboard of 
British Columbia. He had been much impressed with the 
character and intelligence of the Red Indians. As an 



24 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

earnest Christian man, he was glad to observe that they 
were not idolaters, but believed in two Great Spirits, one 
good and one bad, and he greatly feared the result of their 
contact with the undesirable elements of the white man's 
civilization. 

On his arrival in England, Captain Prevost pleaded the 
Red man's cause before the committee of the Church 
Missionary Society with such telling effect as to infuse 
into their hearts something of his own burning zeal and 
Christ-like compassion for the people that had aroused his 
interest and sympathy. As the result, when Captain 
Prevost returned to the North Pacific in 1857, m command 
of H.M.S. Satellite, he carried on board a young school- 
master named William Duncan, who was honoured in 
becoming the first Christian missionary to the Indians of 
British Columbia. 

For about five years Duncan remained at Fort Simpson, 
the station to which he was appointed, learning the 
language, establishing schools and preaching the Gospel. 

During these years a scheme took shape in his mind, 
growing with the intensity of a strong conviction and 
maturing into action in 1862. Duncan realized that if the 
Indian was to be saved — saved from the backward influ- 
ence of his old tribal customs, and from the worse evil 
of the white man's vices, he must be taken right out of his 
old surroundings and away from the contamination of 
irreligious and unscrupulous men. So in the early 
summer of 1862 he invited all the Indians near Fort 
Simpson who desired to lead a better life to follow him. 
At first about fifty responded; these were soon joined 
by nearly 300 more, and with this beginning the Chris- 
tian settlement of Metlakahtla was founded. 

The success of Duncan's scheme was great beyond 
words. Some twenty years later McCullagh records his 
first impressions of the place thus : 

" Here we were astonished and delighted to find the 
Indians well housed and clothed, leading civilized and 
Christian lives, under their missionaries, agents of the 
C.M.S. The largest church in British Columbia, built by 



THE LAND OF THE SETTING SUN 25 

the Indians themselves, with the monetary assistance of 
friends in England, graced the centre of the village. We 
also found schools there and a fine mission-house in which 
the Bishop and some of the missionaries lived." 

This effort was followed by others more or less striking 
in their results, to say nothing of the faithful and devoted 
missionaries of the Wesleyan Methodist Church who 
established stations on the Naas River and elsewhere. 
In 1864 the Rev. R. A. Doolan joined Mr. Duncan at 
Metlakahtla, and on the suggestion of the latter went on 
to establish a permanent mission on the Naas River. 
Having gathered together about fifty Indians, he planned 
a settlement similar to Metlakahtla, at a spot named 
Kincolith or " the Rock of Scalps." The work there was 
carried on by a medical missionary, the Rev. R. Tom- 
linson, until 1878, when he left to open a mission higher 
up the river near the heathen village of Gitlakdamiks. 

Then occurred one of those dramatic incidents which 
prove that " truth is stranger than fiction," illustrating 
the marvels of divine grace, whereby the Spirit of the 
Lord works on the conscience of untutored men and 
moves them to become the instruments of His Provi- 
dence. 



CHAPTER IV 

Tkaganlakhatqu 

AT this time Tkaganlakhatqu, of the Wolf tribe, was 
second chief of the Nishgas, whose head-quarters 
were at the village of Gitlakdamiks, near the head- waters 
of the Naas River. He had gained for himself a great 
reputation for courage, being a fierce and hot-tempered 
man. This chief had a proud, ambitious and vindictive 
disposition, quick to resent an injury, implacable in 
avenging an insult. In a recent tribal feud he had gained 
notoriety as a " brave," being fearless in the pursuance of 
revenge, and having shot remorselessly those who had 
dared to outrage his family pride. And yet he was warm- 
hearted, generous and loyal to his friends. 

Tkaganlakhatqu was held in great honour among his 
tribe, being the chief member of the Ulala or cannibal 
degree of the Alaid. He was also a " medicine man," 
famous for dreams. He owned the finest wilp (Indian 
tribal house) in the village, and he had four wives. 

When Mr. Tomlinson visited Gitlakdamiks, this great 
heathen chieftain secured the honour of being his host, 
thereby incurring the envy of the other chiefs. 

After several visits Mr. Tomlinson appeared one day 
with a couple of canoes laden with lumber, his intention 
being to build a school-house in the village. When the 
people of the place became aware of his purpose, in a 
moment they were up in arms against him and demanded 
how he dared thus challenge the ancient customs, social 
and religious, of their proud race. 

On being summoned to meet the assembled chiefs, he 
went to the council-house and took his seat in the presence 

26 



TKAGANLAKHATQU 27 

of a hostile crowd. It leaked out that the presiding 
chief had a double-bladed dagger concealed under his 
blanket, and that he intended to use it. An Indian 
friendly to the missionary slipped out quietly, and at the 
critical moment Tkaganlakhatqu returned from fishing. 
He was at once informed of the danger to his friend. He 
went straight to the council-house, flung wide open the door 
and strode in, "a noble figure, with his head thrown 
back, his eyes aflame, his nostrils dilated, and his mane of 
coal-black hair falling down his neck." Throwing one 
arm over the missionary, he turned to the presiding chief 
and exclaimed : " You have a dagger concealed in your 
blanket ; if you would flesh your blade, flesh it here/' at 
the same time baring his own breast, and adding : " If 
you are man enough, strike me. You dare not ? Then 
learn, and let all here know, that he who would strike the 
white man must strike me first." Turning to the mis- 
sionary he said : " Come with me." Not a word was spoken 
as they both went out together, Tkaganlakhatqu pushing 
Mr. Tomlinson out of the house, while keeping his own 
body always on the side from which danger might come, 
and challenging several who had raised their rifles to 
fire. 

The missionary spent the following night in the house of 
a friendly Indian named Giekqu. There he sat thinking 
over what he should do. There was the lumber he had 
brought up from the coast for building a school-house. 
He did not want to take it all the way back again. Then 
an idea came into his head. He remembered that about 
two miles down the river was a large flat, thickly strewn 
with fallen timber and overgrown with dense bush. 
The place was called Aiyansh, 1 or " The Valley of Eternal 
Bloom." To float the lumber down the river and use it 
for building on that piece of land would not be defeat ; 
only a change of plan, and it might serve some useful 
purpose in the future. 

The next morning he began to carry out his plan ; the 

1 Ai = eternal, and yansh = foliage, bloom, leaf. Hence the 
title, " The Valley of Eternal Bloom." 



28 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

school-shack was soon erected all alone on the river 
bank, and Mr. Tomlinson returned with his canoes and 
men to the coast. In the heathen village of Gitlakdamiks 
the empty house was treated as a great joke, a standing 
monument to the defeat of the Christian faith. " But 
that house solved the problem and saved the situation 
in a way that no man expected." 

For some years it stood among the trees, unused except 
by the birds and rats. Then one autumn there came 
along from the northern gold mines a renegade white man, 
an evil-disposed person, who had deserted his wife and 
children and formed an alliance with an Indian woman. 
Taking up his abode in the village, he said he wanted a 
piece of good land for farming. He soon heard about 
the missionary's scheme and, desiring to curry favour 
with the tribe, he announced his intention to claim (as he 
was by law entitled to do) the piece of land on which the 
school-shack stood. He would then become its legal 
owner. " I will use it," he said, "as a storehouse for 
potatoes and turnips ; and then if that psalm-singing 
missionary ever comes here again with his Bible and 
Prayer Book, he may whistle for his school-house." 

With the exception of one man the people of the village 
were greatly pleased and exultant. Tkaganlakhatqu, 
when he heard the news, was strangely moved and very 
much perplexed. He sat by his fireside all night, with 
his head between his hands and his elbows on his knees, 
smoking the pipe of reflection. He remembered the 
missionary as his friend ; and the instinct of loyalty 
in his heart cried out against any betrayal of that friend- 
ship. But he was not a Christian ; he and his fore- 
fathers had done very well without the white man's 
religion. " What did the boys of this generation want 
with a school ? Why did not the missionary take his 
lumber back to the coast ? " He had often reasoned like 
this before ; but as he now thought of the boastful talk 
and evil intentions of the renegade white man the smould- 
ering fires in his breast leaped up into the hot flame of 
a generous indignation. That night he made his decision. 



TKAGANLAKHATQU 29 

" With the first glimmerings of dawn was heard the 
sound of an axe-man hard at work. Hark ! did ever 
anyone hear such chopping and crashing ? What can it 
mean ? So thought many of the Indians as they rubbed 
their eyes and sallied forth in the early morn to see what 
was going on. Around Tkaganlakhatqu's house they 
gathered in astonishment. And no wonder ; for there 
he was on the roof hewing right and left, levelling his 
house to the ground. Nobody dared to question him as 
to what he was doing ; and so they watched him until, 
having completed his work of destruction, he chose the 
best pieces of timber from the wreck and arranged them 
in the form of a raft on the water. Then flinging his 
bundle of blankets on the raft, together with some food, 
his rifle, and an axe, he sprang on board, seized a pole 
and pushed off from the shore with a yell and a whoop, 
being whirled away by the current from the astonished 
gaze of wives and kinsmen. 

" Let us follow him. He reaches Aiyansh, pulls up 
before the weather-beaten little shanty, draws his boards 
ashore, arranges them close by in the form of a tent, 
closes up one end and lights a fire before the other ; and 
there he makes himself comfortable as only an Indian 
can ; toasting a piece of smoked salmon, he eats it, 
washing it down with a draught of water from the stream. 

"As he stood in the dusk of the following evening on 
the river's bank, he saw a canoe going past the place, 
making for the village above. Hailing it, he called out : 
' Hau ! Tell that white trash to come and make a 
potato-house of this now — if he can ! ' 

" The white renegade never responded to the chal- 
lenge ! 

" In about a week one of Tkaganlakhatqu's hunting 
chums, feeling lonely without his companionship, joined 
him. This man was followed after a few more days by 
three other Indians, who took up their abode near the 
little school-house, building huts for themselves and their 
families with such materials as they could scrape together. 
Then Tkaganlakhatqu's first wife came to him in his 



30 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

exile ; the other three never went near him. The heathen 
party made many attempts to get him back to the 
village; but he would not yield. He and his faithful 
followers became as it were outcasts and were a laughing- 
stock for the heathen. From being a man of great 
importance, Tkaganlakhatqu was now counted as one 
dead by his tribe, and his nephew took his chieftainship. 
It would be difficult to account for his unflinching attitude, 
in the face of opposition and temptation, merely as the 
obstinacy of one who was too proud to yield. He and 
those who joined him had made what was for them a 
supreme sacrifice in coming out from their own people ; 
they had done this in defence of what they believed to be 
right and honourable. And in their untutored way they 
were seeking for God, like men struggling to find a path 
out of a thick dark forest into some clearing where they 
could see the light of day. 

" Picture to yourselves the situation ; a little band of 
five believers, unable to give a reason for the faith that 
was in them, standing firm against the aroused hostility 
of nearly five hundred foes, erstwhile their friends and 
brethren ! Without the support usually accorded to 
converts by the presence of a missionary, they fought a 
' retiring action,' and won the initiative by taking up a 
new position. 

" Thus the Christian settlement of Aiyansh, which in 
time eclipsed the heathen village, had its beginnings." 

The white missionary had gone back to his old station 
to work among the Indians on the Skeena River ; he 
never again revisited the upper waters of the Naas. 
A native teacher was sent, however, to form the nucleus 
of a Christian church. After a course of instruction 
from him, Tkaganlakhatqu and his four Indian comrades 
were baptized. The native teacher remained with them 
for two years ; but they needed some one better qualified 
to establish them in the faith and knowledge of God. 
And He who knew their need was preparing his chosen 
servant to come and guide their feet into the light of His 
full salvation. 



TKAGANLAKHATQU 31 

God moves in a mysterious way, 
His wonders to perform. 

In a far distant island of the Mediterranean Sea His 
messenger had been waiting ; ready to say with the 
prophet of old: " Here am I, send me " ; and one day 
towards the end of that summer of 1883, a canoe was 
observed coming up the river, propelled by Indians 
from the coast. As her prow touched the bank at Aiyansh 
Mr. McCullagh and his wife stepped ashore and received 
a glad welcome from the small community located 
there. 

They had held the fort with courage and patience, and 
their faith was to be rewarded with a richer harvest of 
blessing than they had ever dreamed of. The advent 
of God's messenger to that lonely spot was to be followed 
in the years to come by a wonderful transformation, 
whereby the Indian tribe on the Upper Naas River was to 
be purged of heathen rites and the degrading customs 
of many centuries and to learn the way of Redemption 
and Righteousness through the power of Jesus, its 
crucified and risen Saviour. 



CHAPTER V 

The Dawn of a New Day 

BEFORE they could feel themselves at home in their 
new environment, the missionary and his wife had 
plenty of hard work to get through. The bare necessaries 
of life were not wanting ; but there were none of the 
comforts to which the white man is accustomed. Their 
lot was rough, demanding manual labour, endurance, 
courage and the stimulating tonic of a cheerful outlook. 
What McCullagh once wrote in describing others might 
equally well be applied to himself and the brave quiet 
woman who had given up her home and loved ones to 
share with him the noble enterprise on which he had 
adventured : 

There is no grander specimen of humanity in the world 
than the Anglo-Saxon backwoods settler — with one exception, 
namely his wife. If you want to know a really noble man, and 
to see one of the greatest and most important works in which 
man can engage, look in upon the backwoods settler and see 
him at work — subduing the earth. 

The first thing necessary was, of course, a dwelling ; 
and so the building of a log-house was at once com- 
menced. This occupied six weeks, they living meanwhile 
in one of the Indian's huts. The house was barely 
completed by November when the snow began to fall. 
Even then it lacked doors and windows ; but patient 
toil, ingenuity and resourcefulness overcame all obstacles 
and discouragements. 

" Early in the winter my usefulness as a ' settler ' 
was sadly impaired by an accident (which I always think 
of as an axe-i-dent) — a deep cut in the ankle with an 

32 



THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY 33 

axe, which placed me on crutches for many a week to 
come. But this did not prevent my falling in love with 
the beautiful snow-clad winter, the crisp frosty days, 
bright moonlight nights and delightful zero weather. 
Never before did I feel such joy in nature, a joy that 
has never left me in all the years following. And this 
happy frame of mind led quickly to the acquirement day 
by day of that experience of backwoods life which enables 
a man to adapt himself easily to his environment. I 
discovered, as need after need arose for such conveniences 
as go to the making of a house, that I possessed the 
mechanical gifts of Bezaleel in a moderate degree. The 
house gradually assumed an air of comfort ; moss and 
mud packed in well between the logs kept out the snow 
at any rate, if not the wind. Articles of furniture and a 
variety of fittings mysteriously materialized ; the interior 
was lined, two rooms partitioned off and papered ; and 
sundry little attempts at ornamentation indulged in, so 
that within a year the house seemed really comfortable 
from the point of view of the simple life. The fare 
was extremely simple, too ; from 1883 to 1887 we only 
had a piece of fresh beef once. Canned meats I could 
not relish, although one had to eat them in order to live. 
Fresh salmon there was in abundance, but even that 
loses its savouriness when dished up for every meal. 
I must confess that I often used to dream greedily of 
beef-steak and mutton-chops. The great thing in cir- 
cumstances of this kind is to keep up your heart ; life 
does not consist of meat and drink. Half the hardships 
we meet with can be overcome with a smile ; therefore 
one should never take them too seriously/ 7 

Certainly the missionary and his wife could not be 
accused, at that or any other time, of luxurious living. 
During the first few months their bed was dried grass, 
their bedstead the floor, while boxes served for tables 
and chairs. 

M At night we were invariably entertained by the rats, 
who frolicked about us in pairs. Although these creatures 
had not yet come into contact with civilization, they 

c 



34 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

were not at all shy ; in fact, they resented my vocal 
efforts to scare them by staring rudely at me from some 
point of vantage. I had therefore to get a long stick 
and keep it by me at night for the purpose of poking 
them ; but nothing short of killing had any effect. Fre- 
quently I used my gun at them. They are called ' bush- 
rats ' because they live in the ' bush,' or ' bush-tailed rats ' 
because they have bushy tails like Persian cats." 

There were other kinds of work to be done, difficulties 
of a different order to be faced and overcome. The 
language had first to be learned, and time was needed 
for that. 1 The Christian missionary and his wife were 
there for a more arduous task than that of the ordinary 
settler. Their real purpose was not to subdue the earth 
and replenish it, but to uplift their fellow-men and women 
out of their ignorance and the superstitious practices and 
degrading customs of heathenism. 

The little band of nominal Indian Christians who 
formed the settlement of Aiyansh in its infancy had 
advanced but a short distance on the road of their new 
endeavour when Mr. and Mrs. McCullagh came to live 
amongst them. It must not be supposed that they 
walked straight out of the pagan darkness of the past 
night into the full daylight of Christianity. 

" At first they hardly understood what they intended 
to do ; but being directed no doubt by the Spirit, they 
embraced Christianity and appealed for a missionary. 
Thus our God overturns, overrules, and even makes the 
wrath of man to praise Him. I need not dwell upon 
the difficulties of commencing work under such circum- 
stances. Suffice it to say that with continued Scripture 
instruction and preaching the Gospel a marvellous change 
was accomplished, and many were added to the little 
flock. In no one was that change more manifest than in 
Chief Abraham (the name adopted in his baptism by 
Tkaganlakhatqu). When I first knew him he was 
anything but tame and gave me no small amount of 
trouble. He seemed to think that I had come to Aiyansh 
» See Chapter VII, 



THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY 35 

to be taught by him instead of to teach him ; he had no 
principles, no conscience and no scruples ; and yet he 
and those who were with him thought that, having left 
the heathen village and given up their heathen customs, 
they had attained to the highest point of perfection. 
Of course I had to bend his will to mine to begin with, 
and in conquering him I practically captured all the 
others. I had not been among them very long when he 
organized a general meeting against me and my teaching, 
and Sunday was the day chosen for putting it into prac- 
tice. I called him and the other men into my room that 
same afternoon and spoke to them, telling them that, as 
they evidently did not want a teacher, I would not waste 
another day's precious time among them ; and that I 
would pack up and be off the following day. I would not 
hear one word in reply from any of them, but left the 
room when I had finished speaking. They wanted a big 
wau-wau (council) that evening, but I would not listen, 
and so about 10 o'clock at night I received a message to 
the effect that if I would reconsider my decision and be 
content to remain with them they would obey me in all 
things in the future ; my word alone would be as the 
Queen's law to them ; and should I feel inclined to order 
Chief Abraham, or any of them, to walk into the river 
they would do so at once ! " 



CHAPTER VI 

Early Morning Clouds 

GRADUALLY the infant Church at Aiyansh grew in 
numbers. From the heathen villages of Gitlak- 
damiks up the river, and Gwinnahat farther down the 
stream, inquirers came to the settlement, and some stayed 
to learn more fully the way of life. As the missionary 
acquired a better knowledge of the language, he visited 
the chiefs, endeavouring to conciliate them by friendly 
overtures, but never leaving out of sight the one great 
object for which he had come to live among them ; never 
losing an opportunity of trying to win them for Christ. 

This was much resented by the Indians in general, 
and by the medicine-men in particular. Of these latter 
McCullagh wrote : " They had also perhaps a personal 
objection to me. I think they found the way I looked 
them in the eye rather disconcerting, and I am sure they 
felt it very awkward to tell me lies. Moreover, I would 
not stand any nonsense from chiefs or big men. Those 
who tried to bluff me never had the heart to repeat the 
experiment ; neither would I flatter them by useless 
wau-waus (handshakings or feasts) ; therefore they de- 
clared I was alugt, nigi ami (fierce and no good)." 

Their hostility at length became serious, imperilling the 
missionary's life. Only a man of exceptional qualities 
could have survived the danger by which he was threatened 
at one time. In McCullagh were combined an unshaken 
faith in God and an utter fearlessness of man. Without 
these two moral characteristics an early grave would 
have been the end of his high adventure for Aiyansh, as 
the following incident will show. 

36 



EARLY MORNING CLOUDS 37 

Late one night he was sitting at his table writing, when 
his ear caught the sound of stealthy footsteps and a low 
muttered conversation outside the log-house. He knew 
this could only mean mischief, but he thought it wiser 
to remain as he was, waiting and watching to see what 
would happen. Presently the door was softly opened 
and an Indian cautiously stepped in. Probably he had 
counted on his intended victim being in bed and asleep. 
But no ! there was the white man sitting at his table, 
writing. For anyone lacking the gifts of self-control or 
resourcefulness in the face of danger, certain death could 
have been the only issue of the treacherous purpose of that 
midnight intrusion. But McCullagh was the man for an 
emergency : already he understood the Red man's 
nature. He knew that if he made any hurried movement 
or betrayed the least sign of fear or nervous apprehension, 
that would be the signal for the Indian, standing silently 
inside the door, to spring on him and plunge into his heart 
the knife that lay concealed under his blanket. So look- 
ing up quietly he said in steady masterful tones, " Stand 
there until I have finished what I am doing." For some 
minutes he continued writing, while he prayed for Divine 
help and turned over in his mind the best course to take. 

His knowledge of the Indians had taught him that there 
is one thing more than all else of which he stands in awe 
and before which he quails ; and that is courage. So he 
quietly passed the blotting-paper over his writing, arose 
slowly from his chair, and confronted the Indian. " I 
know quite well," he said in measured tones, " why you 
and your friends outside are here. You have come to 
kill me because I try to show you the trail that leads to 
the Great Spirit. It is a fine thing, is it not ? for a party 
of Indian ' braves ' to come in the darkness of night and 
murder a white man in his sleep. It needs some courage 
to do that. If you are brave enough to do it, why don't 
you take out that knife you have concealed under your 
blanket and strike me as I stand here ? See ! I open 
my breast for your blade ! Strike, brave Indian, 
strike ! " 



38 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

The Indian looked at the tall upright figure before 
him ; he looked at the bare breast and into the face of 
the white man. And there he saw no tremor on eyelids 
or mouth, but two clear blue eyes steadily reading his 
thoughts and dominating his will. He felt as though he 
had no power to raise a hand ; he dared not draw that 
hidden knife. His courage melted away. He felt afraid. 
Slowly he backed out through the door and closed it 
after him. Then the missionary heard once more the 
undertone of voices outside and the shuffling movement 
of feet until they died away in the darkness of the night. 
And by his table he knelt down and poured forth his soul 
in thankfulness to the Lord who had heard his prayer 
and stood by him and strengthened him in his hour of 
need. 

When the first convert at Aiyansh died, a site was 
chosen and consecrated for a burial-ground. The body 
of the Indian who had " fallen asleep in Jesus " was 
carried out there and committed to its last resting-place 
with the comforting words of the Church of England 
Service for the Burial of the Dead. Soon after this, 
tidings were brought to the missionary that a company 
(eight in number) of the Ulala or cannibal section of 
a semi-secret society called the Alaid had come from 
one of the heathen villages and were inquiring for the 
whereabouts of the bury ing-pl ace. There was no need 
to explain the meaning of their visit. McCullagh under- 
stood in a moment, and he determined to frustrate their 
vile purpose. Seizing his rifle he hurried off by a short 
cut through the brushwood to the place where the grave 
was. Snow had fallen and covered the ground with its 
white shroud. Drawing a wide circle in the snow round 
the grave, as guardian of the dead, McCullagh stood in 
the centre. He had not long to wait before the Ulala 
party appeared. Calling on them to halt and raising his 
rifle in readiness to fire, he addressed them : " Stand 
where you are and come no nearer while I speak. I 
know what your object is in coming here. You want to 
dig up and eat the body of my friend, Simass, buried 



EARLY MORNING CLOUDS 39 

beneath the ground on which I stand. I will die over 
his dead body before I suffer you to outrage it by carrying 
out your loathsome purpose. The first man among you 
that crosses the circle I have marked I shoot ; and you 
know that I shoot straight/' 

The Indians looked at the stalwart white man standing 
before them with his rifle raised. In his face they read 
blazing indignation and stern resolve. No one among 
them dared put his foot across that fatal circle. A few 
words of hurried consultation between themselves were 
followed by retreat. As they disappeared from view, and 
McCullagh heard the sound of their snow-shoes growing 
fainter on the frozen snow, he threw his rifle down and, 
kneeling on the mound of earth that marked the grave, he 
thanked God for directing and sustaining and delivering 
His servant in the discharge of a duty which he knew 
had to be done if he were ever to wean the Nishgas as a 
tribe from the revolting customs of their heathen ancestors. 

McCullagh, I believe, never set down these two incidents 
in writing. Probably his humility forbade his thus 
recording things which might seem like glorifying himself. 
But we who heard them from his lips, as we gathered round 
the fire one autumn evening during his first furlough, 
have never forgotten them. His vivid description of 
each event made a lasting impression on the memory. 
They are chronicled here in order to show what kind of 
man he was. How splendid his courage ! How inflexible 
his will in doing what he felt to be right ! How conscious 
he was at all times of the presence of God ! How unshaken 
was the faith by which he looked up into the face of his 
Lord in every time of need and danger ! But the best 
of men, including those whose faith and courage shine the 
most brightly, are subject at times to periods of depres- 
sion. It can hardly be otherwise, especially when re- 
fined, spiritual natures are compelled to live in daily 
contact with debased human beings. 

McCullagh was no exception to this form of trial. 
" My first experience/ ' he wrote, " of Indian heathenism 
lay very heavy on my heart. I sometimes imagined 



4 o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

that I was a second Ezekiel, taken up by the Spirit and 
set down in another valley of dry bones. Indeed, it 
seemed to me easier that God should have made dry bones 
live than that those up-river Indians should become 
disciples of Christ. Dry they were too, but in addition 
they seemed to be embedded hopelessly in a mass of 
fossilized degradation. Even those who had come out of 
heathenism to put themselves under instruction in the 
way of leading a better life did not all at once give up 
their old ways of living. Some of their habits were 
indescribably filthy/' The missionary's soul revolted 
against such things ; to himself and his wife they were 
sometimes almost beyond endurance. 

One day a feeling of despair seized him ; but like the 
prophet Elijah he made his complaint to the Lord. 
Casting himself on the ground, he cried out, " O Lord, why 
hast Thou brought me here ? These people sicken me 
with their vile habits. How can I ever win them for 
Thee unless I learn to love them ? And instead of 
loving them I loathe them." 

" And then," he adds, " as I remained on my knees 
in the forest, I seemed to see the Cross of Calvary and 
the Figure of Jesus there. And I seemed to hear His 
voice saying to me, ' I loved these people well enough to die 
for them. Canst thou not love them well enough to live 
for them ? ' And in the strength of that vision I aruse 
from my knees with a new feeling in my heart for the 
Indians. I had begun to love them " 



CHAPTER VII 

The Language and Education of a People 

ONE of the most important tasks to be accomplished 
by a missionary if he is to succeed in preaching 
the Gospel to a heathen people, is to acquire a knowledge 
of their language. This was easier for McCullagh than 
it would be for most men. He was naturally endowed 
with exceptional linguistic gifts. Before going out to 
British Columbia he had mastered several European 
languages. Philology was always a favourite study with 
him. One of his hobbies in later years was to trace 
affinities between root-words in the Indian tongue and the 
etymology of those old languages from which the modern 
speech of civilized nations derives its origin. 

" All my conversation with the Indians was, of course, 
at first carried on by means of an interpreter — a man 
whom I had brought up with me from the coast, who 
could speak a little English. But I did not make any 
progress with the language until the following spring, 
when I set myself to acquire it with some purpose. Just 
then my interpreter failed me ; he evidently did not want 
me to know the language ; thinking, I suppose, that my 
ignorance would be his bliss in the way of paid labour. 
However, I employed two old Indians who did not know 
a word of English to do some fencing work in the garden 
with me. One I kept on my right, the other on the left as 
we worked ; the one on the left having been informed by 
many signs that on no account was he to speak, but rather 
to do everything the other man told him to do. Thus 
with an open ear on the right, and an open eye on the 
left, I began to put things together, that is, to associate 

41 



42 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

certain actions with certain sounds, and then to pronounce 
those sounds myself. Many a time have my Indian 
companions rolled on the ground with laughter at my 
attempts to pronounce some of their words, but I always 
succeeded in the end. Whenever I got real hold of a word 
I always wrote it down phonetically, with the meaning in 
English opposite (my book and pencil were always with 
me), and so at the end of six weeks I essayed the writing 
out of a short sermon, much to the delight of the Indians 
in general, especially those who had been helping me. 
These assumed at once a most amusing air of importance : 
they had done what the interpreter could not do, they 
had taught the white man to speak Nishga. But pride 
always goeth before a fall ; they had so credited them- 
selves with everything else, that they had to be credited 
also with my mistakes. I did not make many, it is true ; 
but one mistake is enough to mar a whole sermon. Un- 
fortunately, in this case, the word for ' bread ' and that for 
' woman ' are very much alike, and when in my discourse 
I had occasion to speak of the crumbs which fell from the 
table, instead of saying ' kuba gum anak ' (little scraps of 
bread), I said ' kuba gum anag ' (little single women), 
utterly spoiling the effect of my laboured first effort. 
But I persevered and, entering into a compact with the 
Indians small and great, we agreed that they should 
always tell me if I made a mistake in pronunciation, 
idiom or grammar. Of course they did not know any- 
thing of grammatical rules, but they could tell me if the 
talk ' walked right/ Then I would make notes of all 
the criticisms and comments made, correct my pronun- 
ciation, idiom or grammar, as the case might be, making 
sure, if possible, not to fall into the same errors again/' 

In the end McCullagh acquired a reputation among the 
Indians of knowing more about their language than they 
knew themselves, and of being able to speak it as cor- 
rectly and fluently as any one of them. 

For him to know the Nishga tongue, however, was not 
enough. He could indeed converse with people and 
preach sermons to them ; but he knew that if ever they 



LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 43 

were to become settled in the Christian faith they must 
be able to read the Bible. And for this purpose he set to 
work and reduced their language to writing. M I gave 
eight solid hours a day for one year/' he writes, " to the 
making of a Nishga-English Grammar on Ollendorff 
system ; and it was grand in those far-away days when 
I began to feel my wings ! — when, instead of stumbling 
along amid the intricacies of the Nishga Grammar, I began 
to fly/' 

The letters of the English alphabet were insufficient to 
give the phonetic equivalent of many of the Indian words ; 
so he added to their number, incorporating several Greek 
letters and thus making up the full number to thirty- two. 
Then he taught the people to read. The young Indians, he 
soon found, were keen to learn the vernacular, and when 
he started to print the Grammar on his typewriter, 
" they gathered round like flies round a sugar-barrel/' 

Let us here anticipate the results of McCullagh's efforts 
to educate the people. During the winter months, when 
the boys were not needed by their fathers to help in the 
fisheries, he collected as many of them as he could get, 
boarded them in a tent near the mission-house, and 
regularly taught them to read and write. He did this, 
hoping in time to train them for setting up the type of 
the printing-press which eventually became so important 
a feature of his work. Some of the boys proved sharp 
and intelligent ; others were not so bright. It was all 
very strange to them to try and learn things of which 
neither they nor their fathers before them had ever heard. 
One boy named Gaigiat became quite discouraged. 
" The book did not speak to his eyes as he expected it 
would do." His idea of reading was, that if one were to 
hold a book sufficiently long before the face, the writing 
would by some occult process convey the meaning to the 
eyes ; but that there was any work to be done in learning 
to spell was incomprehensible to him ; consequently it 
was a very difficult matter to get him to learn the Nishga 
alphabet and to plod through the spelling of syllables. 
He could not see the use of learning letters and bits of 



44 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSM 

words which in themselves meant nothing, or, as he put 
it, " did not tell him any news." " He had no joy in his 
lessons, and was always glad when they were over, and he 
at liberty to scamper about the rocks at play." 

One day the missionary called him in and lectured him 
on his apathy and indifference in learning to read. He 
seemed very much bored and appeared to think himself 
unfairly treated in not being taught to read without any 
trouble to himself. 

" Taking a sheet of paper I wrote in large letters (he 
had already got to the fourth spelling sheet) am mi dum 
gint Gak al habesqu al yuksat kin (feed the rabbits with 
grass this evening), and handing it to him, said, ' Spell 
out those words, beginning a-m am, m-i mi, and so on.' 
He got to the end. - Now,' said I, ' pronounce them 
without spelling/ This he did with evident growing 
amazement, until at last, looking up at me, with eyes 
actually starting out of his head, he broke into an hysteri- 
cal kind of laugh, and throwing up his feet, rolled off 
the box where he was seated, and out at the door like a 
bale of goods. On going into his tent later, I found him 
for the first time really intent upon his lessons. ' Well/ 
said I, ' how are you getting on now ? have you done 
what the paper told you to do ? ' His reply was, ' I 
have been very foolish, chief/ ' Well, it is something 
gained to know that/ I rejoined ; ' add the fear of God to 
that, and you have the beginning of wisdom/ u 

This was the turning over of a new leaf in Gaigiat's 
education, and before long he had learned to read 
intelligently and to write neatly. 

The question of the education of the Indians was a 
difficult one. " When the people are in their villages," 
writes McCullagh, " school is open daily, and nearly all 
the children attend, and are instructed in reading, writing, 
geography and arithmetic. Unfortunately the breaks 
occurring in the spring and summer, owing to the migra- 
tory habits of the people, tend to retard the progress 
which might otherwise be made. Still, notwithstanding 
these drawbacks, we make considerable headway. To 



LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 45 

overcome this difficulty I have kept all the boys back as 
far as I could, during the past ten years, by boarding 
them in my own house and clothing them. By doing 
this their parents have been satisfied to leave them with 
me. These boys are the joy and crown of my labours. 
They stand out conspicuously among all the Indian boys 
of the country for alertness of intellect, more than average 
intelligence, discipline, good conduct, mechanical ability 
and general efficiency for the life that lies before them." 

In 1891, eight years after he went out to Aiyansh, the 
progress of the people's education was so far advanced 
that McCullagh was able to circulate among them an 
occasional newspaper, entitled Hagaga, cyclostyled in 
the vernacular, on one side only of a large sheet of paper, 
containing items of interest general and personal, and 
embellished with drawings in the way of instruction and 
humour. 

The success of this system of educating the people in 
their own language before teaching them anything more 
than conversational English was very marked. A mar- 
vellous instance of this occurred about the year 1891, 
when he first began to distribute spelling-sheets and 
reading-lessons among the boys. 

" One of our little boys," he writes, " meeting with some 
hunters from a distant tribe, taught them the rudiments 
of spelling in the vernacular, and gave them a few copies 
of our little Hagaga. These young men were very much 
taken with the idea of learning to read and write in their 
own language, and persevered with the lessons the winter 
through in their own village, using pieces of split wood 
for slates and burnt sticks for pencils. About a year 
after this, not knowing what had been going on mean- 
while, I was much astonished to receive letters from men 
of this tribe in rapid succession, stating their intention 
of coming to live at the Mission, that they had already 
' repented to God/ and wanted to be further instructed 
and baptized. And so they came and had their desire 
fulfilled." These young men remained for some time at 
Aiyansh and eventually became consistent Christians. 



46 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

But the crowning glory of the Nishga people's education 
began in 1893 when a printing-press arrived from Eng- 
land. Nothing could illustrate more clearly McCullagh's 
gifts of patience, perseverance and manual skill than the 
way in which, without assistance from anyone, he taught 
himself the art of printing. Thus he described the process 
in one of his letters home : 

" Very few amateurs, I imagine, have begun printing 
under greater disadvantages than those which beset me 
at the commencement of my mounting the hobby. The 
first time I obtained more than a passing glimpse of a 
printing-press was when I unpacked the cases containing 
one sent out to me by the Society for Promoting Christian 
Knowledge in 1893. The parts were there in perfect 
order, I had no doubt, but the question was, how to put 
them together ? I had attempted to solve many a 
problem in my time, but this was pons asinorum at last. 
However, by the help of a cut in Webster's Dictionary, 
I eventually got it into working order. The type I dis- 
tributed easily enough, but there were many things of 
the use of which I had no idea, e.g. composing stick, 
setting rules, marble slab, a kind of stone pestle (of the 
use of this I am still in ignorance) and a few other things. 
I began composing therefore on the bed of the press, 
within a frame laid thereon, setting up each word in my 
fingers, and then transferring it to the frame, frequently 
spilling it, and sometimes knocking down a whole 
line ! Every now and then, as I straightened up my 
aching back or turned around my stiffening neck, I 
exclaimed, ' Well, this beats all other kind of work in the 
world ! ' 

" My task was a hard and tedious one. But joy ! at 
last the frame was filled and the type tightened. Then 
getting roller and ink ready, I pulled with nervous im- 
patience my first proof. 

" Without waiting to give a look at the sheet, I took it 
in for my wife to see, waving it triumphantly at arm's 
length, thinking, if I did not shout, ' Eureka.' But, oh ! 
the consternation, the mortification, the humiliation ! 



LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 47 

it was printed backwards and could only be read in the 
looking-glass.' ' 

Having served his apprenticeship to the art of printing, 
alone and unaided, he began to teach his Indian boys. 
At first they were slow in learning ; but the more intelli- 
gent among them succeeded in the end. In 1900 McCul- 
lagh completed his revised translation of St. John's 
Gospel into the Nishga language. In due course the 
other three Gospels were translated and printed. A 
school Primer, a Nishga Grammar, a Nishga-English 
Grammar, a Dictionary, an Old Testament history in 
Nishga and an English Prayer Book with Hymns, all 
passed through the printing-press before many years were 
over. The Primer was published in 1897 by the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge for use in the day- 
school at Aiyansh ; it includes a translation of Psalms i. 
and xxiii., St. Matthew v. 1-12 and 1 St. John ii. i-n. 
The same Society also published an undated volume 
entitled: " A Nishga version of portions of the Book of 
Common Prayer," containing various Canticles and some 
extracts from the Scriptures. Although these two volumes 
are preserved in the Library of the British and Foreign 
Bible Society, the Bible Society itself never published 
anything in the Nishga tongue. In his annual letter for 
1895 McCullagh stated that the Bible Society had con- 
sented to print the Nishga New Testament for him ; 
and indeed this great and generous Society has always 
taken a keen interest in his work and would gladly have 
done for him what they are doing for other Missions all 
the world over. That they never actually published 
anything for McCullagh during the early years of his work 
is probably because he wished to educate his Indians in 
the qualities of self-dependence and self-culture by making 
them responsible for printing and binding the books he 
translated into their language. He believed in the 
practical utility of Industrial Missions, and he put this 
principle into practice whenever it was possible. During 
his last furlough (1914-1916) the Bible Society promised 
to give him the Epistle to the Romans in the Nishga 



48 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

language. After his return to Aiyansh he set to work at 
once and had just finished the translation of this Epistle 
when the great flood came and destroyed it, together 
with many other valuable manuscripts. 

As the people grew in their capacity and desire for 
receiving knowledge, he used to give, during the winter 
evenings, lectures on various subjects ; as, for example, 
" astronomy, agriculture, carpentry and building, the 
care of domestic animals and poultry, electricity applied, 
physiology, the generation of disease, the importance 
of sanitary arrangements in and about the houses of a 
village, the use and care of tools, the principles of steam 
and water power, law and justice, and many other things 
too numerous to mention." Also in 1907 he wrote as 
follows in The Story of a Great Transformation: 

" From the pictorial papers and periodicals which I receive 
monthly I generally cut any illustrations of interest and, together 
with typewritten explanations in the vernacular, paste them 
on a large sheet of printing-paper, so that the Indians are always 
able to gain a little variety of knowledge in this way. Thus 
they know all about airships, flying machines, X-rays, wireless 
telegraphy, damming the Nile, bridging the Zambesi, new ships, 
people of other lands, their habits and customs, and so on, ad lib." 

In 1909 the Hagaga was revised under a new name and 
form, entitled " Hagaga, the Aiyansh Parish Magazine and 
Indian's Own Paper." It was printed in English, the 
printers being four of the old Mission boys. The Maga- 
zine consisted of eight pages of three columns each. It 
was brimful of useful information about educational and 
sanitary problems, the Government of the country, and 
many other matters ; one page (sometimes two) being 
reserved for the children. 

The Editorial notes of the first number (June 1909) 
begin thus : 

" There are a few young men and women, boys and 
girls, in our villages now who can read easy English, so 
that we feel they ought to have a little paper of their 
own to talk to them about those things that make for their 
welfare. 



LANGUAGE AND EDUCATION OF A PEOPLE 49 

" The Hagaga is therefore brought to the front again, 
and we hope it will do something to help to open the 
doors of truth and righteousness of life, so that the hearts 
and minds of the rising generation may enter into a purer 
air and follow a higher life. 

"When a man makes a garden he has no need to plant 
weeds ; they grow of themselves without any help, and 
have to be pulled up or cut down. But the things he 
uses for food — wheat, oats, beans, peas, potatoes and other 
vegetables, as well as fruit, have to be planted and watered 
and taken care of. Whenever a man sows good seed in 
his garden a crop of weeds is sure to come up at the same 
time, as though they wanted to choke out the good seed. 
So that he has to work for the good and against the bad. 

" Now this is what we hope the Hagaga will do : it will 
try to cut down and pull up the weeds of cunning, craft, 
guile and lies which are always on the grow, seeking to 
hinder the ripening of the good seed of truth and love, 
peace and joy. And we are sure that every true-hearted 
man and woman will be glad to see that which is good 
increase and grow, and all old evil things pass away. 

" We hope all the young folk, and all the old people too, 
will help to make this little paper go well. Every one 
ought to push it on by placing an order for it. The price 
is sixty cents a year — very cheap." 

To raise a tribe of degraded savages in the course of a 
few years, to teach them in their own tongue, and after- 
wards to educate them so as to make them capable of 
receiving such moral instruction as this, printed by their 
own hands in the English language, is of itself a fine 
achievement for one man. It will be reckoned all the 
more so if we bear in mind that it was only one depart- 
ment of the many-sided work McCullagh was enabled to 
accomplish. 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Red Man as a Heathen 

THAT McCullagh possessed literary talents of no mean 
order is evident from the accounts he wrote at 
intervals describing the development of his work. Some 
of these have been published in booklet form by the 
Church Missionary Society ; others have appeared as 
articles in the Church Missionary Review. In addition 
to these he sent home to his supporters in England, 
periodically or as some special necessity arose, journals 
recounting the progress of the Christian Mission to the 
Indians. Often he burned the midnight oil in writing 
letters to his personal friends in the old country, many 
of which, happily, have been preserved, especially those 
relating to the earlier years at Aiyansh. Unfortunately 
most of those written in later years have not been kept. 
He was undoubtedly conscious that he possessed the gift 
of a flowing pen as the natural outcome of an active brain 
and a fertile imagination ; and at one time he seriously 
intended writing for publication a book in which he could 
plead the cause of the Indians and show how the Gospel 
of our Lord Jesus Christ is the one hope of their salvation 
morally, socially and spiritually. In April 1899 he wrote 
to his friend Mr. C. B. Robinson : "On my return from 
the Conference at Metlakahtla I start (D.V.) to print the 
New Testament and to write the book I mentioned in my 
last letter. I have a mind to pitch my tent in a pine 
grove on a hill near by and ride there in the early mornings 
(on a cayuse I have who rejoices in the name of Joe) for 
four hours' slick writing." But in April 1900 he wrote 
again to the same friend : " The book is not at all satis- 

50 



THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 51 

factory. I write and rewrite, and still I am in the un- 
satisfying scribble stage. I digress so often and perhaps 
go in too much for moralizing. At every hand's turn I 
find some popular misconception, or what appears to 
me as such, peeping round the corner, and I can't resist 
the temptation to ' go for it.' However I'll ' get there ' 
by and by if I live, and every year that passes now will 
add fresh interest to the pages of my book." 

But he never did " get there," partly, as he himself says 
in another letter, owing to the financial risk of such a 
venture. The materials, however, of this work, which 
never saw the light of publication, survive in the form 
of " Sketches," some of which were actually printed in 
small type by their author. Three of these are here 
recorded by which it may be seen how intimate was 
McCullagh's knowledge of old Indian habits and how 
keen were his powers of observation. No one was better 
qualified than he for recording manners and customs now 
fast dying out. Incidentally they show how difficult 
was the task before him in breaking down the long- 
established practices in which the Red man was steeped 
and from which he must break away in the process of his 
conversion to the Christian faith. 



r. A TYPICAL INDIAN CHIEF 

" My first introduction to the great Chief Sgaden was 
in the late summer of 1883, just after my first arrival at 
Aiyansh. It was a sunny afternoon, and, standing on 
the river bank with my interpreter beside me, we watched 
a small fishing canoe, poled by one man sitting in the stern, 
come gradually up to where we were. The Indian in the 
canoe was an oldish man with broad, flattened features on 
which a proud, haughty expression was stamped for all 
time. His headgear consisted of an old piece of red 
cotton wound around his head and knotted in front ; 
an old open-breasted, smoke-mellowed calico shirt and a 
pair of worn-out ' china ' pants completed his costume. 

" ' Who is he, Frederick ? ' I whispered. 



52 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

" ' He one velly gleat chief ! ' responded Frederick, with 
an impressive smack of his lips. 

" Then he proceeded to inform the occupant of the canoe 
that the white man had been inquiring who he was. This 
started Sgaden on his own account. He smote upon his 
breast, pointed to his heart, put out his tongue and flicked 
it with his finger, and then pointed to the surrounding 
country. 

" ' He say one gleat man, big chief, more dan all chiefs ; 
no oder man chief enough to speak him ; him velly stlong 
heart, all same one tongue speak for all country lound 
bout hea\ You come make eat 'long him tomollow ? ' 
said Frederick, with an air of great importance. 

" Accordingly I took two friendly Indians with me on 
the morrow and repaired to his house, which was in a vil- 
lage about two miles away. This village, as is the custom, 
stands on a river bank, and was composed of about forty 
large houses or compounds with low-pitched roofs. 
Erected before the house of each chief (for there are many 
chiefs in a village) was an immense wooden pole — a whole 
tree — carved with the figures of queer animals and human 
faces, and surmounted by the carved image of some bird 
or animal showing the crest and tribal division of the 
chief. 

" Presently we reached my host's house, and found him 
standing at the door ready to receive me. Without any 
greeting he led me in and, spreading a bearskin on the 
floor, motioned me to be seated. I sat down, as did also 
my two companions, while the old man, who had laid out 
all his possessions as for an exhibition, went round ex- 
amining his goods critically as though he had seen them 
for the first time in his life. 

" Opposite to us, on the other side of the hearth, sat 
Mrs. Chief, washing a pair of her husband's moccasins 
in a wash-hand basin. Having wrung these out, she 
emptied the contents of the basin into a hole in the 
hearth, and then, taking a smoke-dried salmon, held it 
before the fire to toast. This being done, she broke it 
up into small pieces, which she deposited in the basin and 






THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 53 

set it before us. My companions began eating and 
motioned me to do the same. ' Dear me/ thought I, 
' I am in for it this time ! ' Picking up a piece in my 
fingers, I looked at it, wondering if I could bolt it, and 
calculating, with my left hand on the pit of my stomach, 
the possible results. But there was no way out of it, I 
must not give offence, so I played with that piece of 
salmon, touching my teeth with it now and again and 
smacking my lips. I never do things rashly if I can help 
it, but on this occasion I tried, by closing my eyes and 
deafening my ears, to shut out for a moment all conscious- 
ness, and then a hurried bit of chewing, a big gulp down, 
and all was over. My friends had cleared the basin by 
this time, so the old lady took it and began to prepare a 
second course. This consisted of seaweed, salmon roe 
and fish oil, and was mixed all up together in the basin. 
Laying this in front of us, she served out a horn spoon 
to each, and then began to lick her fingers one after the 
other, for she had been mixing the dish, you know ! 

" That was the only time in my life that I can remember 
wishing for a cold in my head — a good stuffy one ! It 
would have been too rude of me to hold my nose with 
one hand, while with the other I plied the spoon. But 
what was to be done ? Eat I must, and that quickly. 
So, taking up a spoonful, I took it in very small doses, 
whiling away the time until the dish had been emptied 
by my friends. Our hostess then took the basin and wiped 
it out with her finger, which she carefully licked, as also 
the spoon ! Preparations were then made for another 
course — berries dried upon leaves were taken out of a 
box and put into the basin with water, and squeezed up 
into squash by our chief ess. How she did enjoy drawing 
her tongue across those hands every now and then ! 
Dear old lady, she gave my spoon an extra lick by way of 
courtesy, before laying it down for my use again ! These 
mashed berries would not have been half bad if she had 
not poured a lot of that awful fish oil into the basin with 
them. While we were discussing this dish our host was 
standing in the doorway looking out for somebody, who 



54 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

turned out to be a young man in a blanket. Him he 
ordered to fetch a bucket of water — a bark bucket — and 
to mash up a lot of red and yellow berries in it. This 
he did, kneeling in front of us, and then proceeded to whip 
the whole into a foaming mass with his hand. Long 
wooden spoons were served out for this course, and the 
enjoyment to be derived from this particular mass con- 
sisted in drawing into the mouth the contents of the 
spoon, and then expelling them into the same again, 
repeating the process three or four times, and finally 
swallowing the delicacy. 

" After lunch the chief took me round and showed me 
all his treasures, to which he was evidently anxious that 
I should add something. 

" In due course I returned the chief's invitation, had 
quite a spread for him, and watched him eat my good 
things with pleasure. But I was not prepared for the end 
of it, viz., stuffing his pockets with all that was left on 
the table. How could he be so rude as to leave aught of 
that which had been set before him ? Such is Indian 
politeness. 

" After I had settled down in Sgaden's country I found 
him very much opposed to the Gospel. Whenever I went 
into his house to preach, he invariably started chopping 
wood to make a noise. Once he sent a message to me to 
caution me not to say too much against heathen ways. I 
was but a leaf in his country, and he had only to blow 
with his mouth to send me flying back again to the 
sea ! 

" In 1898 Sgaden made a profession of repentance and 
faith in Christ, was baptized by Archdeacon Collison and 
lived for some time at Kincolith. But he again re- 
turned to his heathen surroundings after a few years, and 
died virtually a heathen in 1904. 

" He would listen to no Indian preaching, neither would 
he sit still while family prayers were being conducted in 
any house where he was. His pride was sufficient to 
clothe a whole tribe with arrogance, and as he lived, so 
he died." 



THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 55 

2. THE INDIAN HA-ALAID 

" There is among the Nishgas a Society called the 
Alaid, a semi-secret Society, consisting of four degrees of 
mysteries, to be initiated into which is the ambition of 
every Indian who can afford it. Originally this Society 
was composed only of chiefs and leading men, but now 
that articles of property can be acquired by any indus- 
trious Indian from European trading-posts and stores, 
it is open to every one who can give the required feasts 
and presents to the tribe. Anyone not belonging to this 
Society is classed as Um-giat — unmade, rude or raw-made ; 
from ' urn,' the makings of; and ' giat,' man — so that 
Umgiat is, literally, the makings of a man. On the other 
hand, those who have taken their degrees are styled 
' shim-gigiat/ from ' shim,' real, fact, made ; and ' gigiat,' 
the plural of ' giat ' — literally made men, real men, i.e. 
chiefs. The ' Umgigiat ' have no special position at all 
in the tribe, while the ' Shimgigiat ' are classed according 
to the number of degrees they have taken. The first 
degree is Milthat (plural Gamilthat, sons of being) ; the 
second Lulthim (dog-eaters) ; the third Ulala (cannibals) ; 
while the fourth is Hunanalthit (destroyers) . The fourth 
degree is only open to members of the third, the third to 
those belonging to the second, the second to those in the 
first, while the first is open to anyone who can afford to 
give a big feast and who makes a distribution of property. 

" You must now allow me to introduce you to a young 
Indian just out of his teens. He is a hunter and a fisher- 
man, splendidly built, pleasing to look at, as brown as a 
berry, keen-eyed as a hawk, and rejoicing in the name of 
Dozqum Gaik (Black Feather). He has been working 
hard for the last four years and laying up the fruits of 
his labour. He is now worth about a hundred blankets, 
four or five dozen cups and saucers, five bags of rice, 
twenty boxes of ship's biscuit, a small barrel of molasses 
and a quantity of tobacco. Just notice his gait as he 
walks, observe the elasticity of his step and the way he 
holds up his head ! Why should he not hold up his head ? 



56 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

Is he not lord of a hundred blankets, each measuring 
six feet by four ; and the coveted prefix ' Shim/ is it not 
within measurable distance of his name ? 

" The happy hum of summer is hushed throughout 
forest and glade ; the ground is strewn with the recent 
glory of autumn ; the snow-line is nightly creeping lower 
and lower down the mountain sides, the harsh sound of 
the rapids is heard from afar on the still frosty air ; 
another week and it will be winter. Dozqum Gaik is busy 
in his uncle's house preparing for the long-anticipated 
feast. A goodly pile of fragrant cedar logs stands near 
the door ready for the hearth, half a dozen eagles, with 
the assistance of Black Feather's rifle, have filled yonder 
bark bag with their fine white down, while the kindness 
of the neighbours has multiplied the number of pots 
beside the door. All is ready for the feast. Pots of rice 
are boiling, Black Feather's female relatives are to the 
fore in force, the blankets are piled up near the entrance 
ready for distribution, and in the corner the lord of the 
feast is putting on a coat of paint, to which he adds a 
kilt or jingling apron, and a pair of leggings, finally en- 
folding his body in a coloured blanket. The guests 
begin to pour in, each bringing his or her dish and spoon, 
while a man at the door points out the place of everyone, 
uttering the word ' Git ' (there it is). 

" The principal chief's place is at the end opposite the 
door, while on his right and left sit the other chiefs, 
according to rank, with their heirs (i.e. their nephews) 
squatting in front of them. The guests sit all round the 
house in four ranks, the ' Umgigiat ' near the door. The 
food is served out first to the chiefs and last of all to the 
1 Umgigiat.' The feeding over, Black Feather's uncle 
addresses the chiefs, standing out in the light of the fire, 
his blanket gathered across his breast by his left arm, 
while his right is extended towards the nobles — " Now, 
ye chiefs ..." He introduces his nephew, whose good 
things he flatteringly deprecates, while recalling to mind 
former famous feasts given by those whom he is addressing. 
Black Feather then comes forward and, taking two 



THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 57 

blankets off the pile, gives them to the Min (First Chief) , 
to each of the other chiefs and their heirs he gives one, 
to the leading men he gives half a blanket each, while 
the ' Umgigiat ' come in for one-sixteenth each. Thrice 
happy day for Dozqum Gaik — the smiles of his guests and 
their reiterated title of ' Nat ' almost turn his head, he 
is giddy with elation, and already looks forward to creating 
a greater sensation a few years hence when he takes the 
' Lulthim.' 

" Bang ! Bang ! Something has struck the roof of the 
house, and Black Feather falls to the floor as though he had 
been shot. In a moment a dozen stalwart men have cast 
aside their blankets and stand around him in their paint 
and kilts. Tearing his blanket from him, they roll his 
apparently lifeless body into an elk-skin, which four of 
them hold at the corners, and sway it to and fro to a slow 
drumming and singing on the part of the others. The 
drumming grows more rapid, the sing-song more jerky, 
and they toss him up and catch him again as they whirl 
round the fire in the centre of the floor. Now a few of 
them have got the bark bag of eagle-down, the contents 
of which they throw up by the handful, assisting its flight 
with their breath. 

" See ! they are enveloped in a cloud of whirling, 
eddying feather-flakes as, circling round and round in the 
firelight, they toss Black Feather higher and higher to- 
wards the large opening (chimney) in the roof. Closer 
and closer they mingle together in the cloudy maze, then 
a final toss and out of their hands goes the elk-skin, to 
come down limply on the floor. Black Feather is gone ! 
Tossed up to heaven ! * 

" There they stand looking up at the starry sky as seen 
through the opening in the roof, while smothered ex- 
clamations of awe and wonder escape from the lips of the 
f Umgigiat,' and the chiefs sit on in quiet dignity. The 
party then breaks up, and each person goes home in 
silence. Four days have elapsed since Black Feather 

1 The vanishing operation is, of course, a cleverly performed 
trick. 



58 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

was tossed up to heaven, and the guests are again 
assembled in his uncle's house, where they are seated as 
before, enjoying a second edition of the feast. Around 
the fire stand the painted and kilted members of the 
' Milthat ' looking up at the opening in the roof and calling 
upon ' Miltham Kila ' (God of Miltha) to restore to them 
the missing youth. One of their number takes a large 
wooden spoon filled with fish oil, which he presents aloft, 
crying out, ' Alu kwilth Ye, dum gibin t'kon ' (Walker 
abroad, you will eat of this), after which he deposits the 
huge spoon with its contents on the fire. Suddenly the 
flames leap forth, ascending in a fluttering stream through 
the aperture above, illuminating the interior and exterior 
of the festal hall. 

" Thud ! Bump ! Something has fallen upon the roof, 
and out rush the dancers, uttering the peculiar yell of the 
' Milthat.' Presently they return with Black Feather 
in their midst, whom they lead around before the guests. 
Then putting him again into the elk-skin, they sway and 
toss him as before, and again cause him to vanish in a 
cloud of eagle-down. 

" The next morning Black Feather is seen sitting on a 
rock on the opposite bank of the river quite naked, while 
all the inhabitants of the* village stand before his uncle's 
house looking at him. Through this crowd a party of 
naked ' Gamilthat ' urge their way with a dancing step, 
cross the river and bring him over. Through the village 
they lead him four times, a hungry-looking creature (for 
he has not eaten anything since the first night of the 
feast), and then conduct him to his uncle's house, where 
for four days the members of the ' Milthat ' continue to 
drum and rattle over him. During those days a wreath 
of teased alder-bark is hung outside the house, and 
nobody is allowed to pass by the front ; they must go by the 
back. A third edition of the feast brings the ceremony 
to a close, and then Black Feather goes into retirement 
for the remainder of the winter. If you go into his 
uncle's house you will observe a corner screened off by a 
bark mat, behind which someone is evidently at work. 




NISHGA CHIEF WEARING STATE BLANKET. 
These blankets are of great value and are now unobtainable. 



THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 59 

It is Black Feather in seclusion, whiling away the dreary 
hours in making and repairing his hunting and fishing 
appliances. 

" There will be, perhaps, a session of the ' Lulthim ' in 
February, at the feast of which he will be liberated. But 
you will not find him then the beaming youth of the 
summer before ; there will be a hard look of the world on 
his face, his smile will strike you as a little cruel, his look 
cunning and crafty, while the whole demeanour of the 
man shows that he has been morally ruined. He has 
imbibed quite a store of selfish, worldly and debasing 
principles from the instructions of the old ' stagers ' who 
initiated him into the mysteries of the first degree. Don't 
let any of my readers suppose that these ceremonies are 
got up for the amusement of the Indians. What the 
Universities and other noble institutions are in the esti- 
mation of the youth of England, such are these customs 
in the estimation of Indian youths. 

" The ' Lulthim,' or second degree, is much the same as 
the ' Milthat,' except in one particular. At a certain 
stage of the dance one of the old members catches a dog, 
kills it on the spot and throws its body to the man who 
is being initiated. This person takes the dog and tears 
out its yet warm and palpitating heart with his teeth, 
gorges on it like a ravening wolf and smears his face with 
the blood. 

M The ' Ulala,' or third degree, consists of eating human 
flesh instead of dog's. In olden times a slave, generally 
a woman past work, was handed over by the chief of the 
Ulala to be torn to pieces by the dancers. Now they 
content themselves by biting pieces out of each other's 
arms, cheeks, shoulders, etc. The winter before I re- 
turned to England (1890) they made a lay figure, covered it 
with stiff dough, and ate that as a substitute for flesh. 

" The ' Hunanalthit,' or fourth degree, consists in a 
man's accumulating as much property as he can, then 
giving a feast and a dance, at which he works himself up 
to a pitch of frenzy when, with a club in his hand, he 
runs amuck through the village, destroying some article 



6o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

of property in each house, afterwards making a restitution 
from that which he has laid up. A greater honour than 
this no Indian can attain to ! 

" Such then is the nature of a little bit of Red Indian 
heathenism ; such is the nature of the darkness the 
Church of Christ is called upon to dispel." 

3. THE AVENGER OF BLOOD 

" The ' Shegit ' is the avenger of blood whose duty is 
to kill the person, or any relative of the person, who may 
have slain a member of the family to which he belongs. 
Any member of the family can take upon himself the 
office of Shegit if he chooses. A son, however, would 
only avenge his father's death in a case where a father had 
no nephew, but a father could and would take up the 
case of his son. 

" On one occasion I had a narrow escape from the 
Shegit : — There was a medicine-man who threatened to 
take the life of a youth by witchcraft in the event of the 
boy's assuming the title of a certain vacant chieftainship 
to which he, the medicine-man, asserted a prior claim. 
Notwithstanding, the boy's family helped him to take 
the dignity, and after that he sickened and died. His 
mother then took a gun, loaded it, handed it to the youth's 
father, and pointing towards the door uttered the word 
Shegit ! Out strode the man, gun in hand, going in the 
direction of the medicine-man's village. The next day 
the body of the ' doctor ' was found stiff and stark on 
the snow ; the Shegit had taken the required vengeance. 

" About a week after this event the relatives of the 
murdered medicine-man came to me to report the cir- 
cumstances of the crime, and saying that they would not 
perpetuate the feud if the Queen's law could be set in 
motion. I wrote informing the Indian Agent of the 
murder, and in a short time fourteen specials were de- 
spatched to arrest poor Shegit. In attempting to carry 
out their instructions they shot him and nearly brought 
a hornet's nest about, not only their own ears, but the 
ears of every white man in the district. The Indians, 



THE RED MAN AS A HEATHEN 61 

however, held a council at which they fixed the blame 
of Shegit's death on me, because I had given infor- 
mation to the authorities. Whereupon Shegit's father 
and other members of the tribe set out for Aiyansh. 
Arriving there, they found that we had gone down 
to the coast for the annual Conference, and that we 
would be back again in three weeks' time. Those 
three weeks they waited patiently for my return. 
Meanwhile, we were at Metlakahtla waiting for the 
steamer by which we expected to return to the Naas 
where our canoe was. One day, however, near the 
end of the time, I made one of a boat's crew to go to 
a place called Inverness for some necessary things, 
and was utterly astonished on coming back to find that 
the steamer had called and left for the Naas in my absence. 
This appeared to be a great inconvenience, as she would 
not touch there again for a month to come. We thought 
ourselves very unfortunate until we reached Aiyansh and 
found that the ' Shegiting ' Party had left for the interior 
the evening before. They had waited the three weeks 
and given me two days' margin to make up for possible 
delays ; but when I failed to turn up at that time, they 
concluded that I had got wind of them, and would, there- 
fore, not come up at all, so they left ! 

" Some may think my escape was owing to chance, good 
fortune, or the like ; but I attribute it to God's good 
providence. 

"lam now on very good terms with this family, and 
the old father always comes to see me when passing 
through my district." 



CHAPTER IX 

The Red Man as a Christian 

" T T THEN we speak of ' believers ' it is necessary for 
VV people to understand exactly what is meant. 
Let us imagine a large mountain. Those who dwell on 
the mountain know all the peaks, passes, valleys and 
slopes and have names for them. This mountain is 
Christianity, and the people are, we will say, English 
believers. Imagine now a people who never saw a 
mountain ; up out of the bowels of the dark earth they 
came into the day ; standing afar off, they wonderingly 
gaze at the blue hazy immensity rising up to the sky. 
They see it clothed in the glory of a heavenly light ; 
they see it in its entirety, but they know nothing of its 
wealth of detail, its lovely crags, charming glens and 
sparkling rills ; they only hope to reach that mountain 
and live there some day. These are Indian believers 
just emerged from heathenism." 

By this metaphor McCullagh described the mental 
attitude, the moral outlook and the unformed character 
of the Indian while yet in the infant stage of his new life 
in Christ. 

Among the early converts of the Nishga tribe one man 
stood out prominently above the others ; he was also 
pre-eminently typical of the rest of his tribe who re- 
nounced heathenism for the Christian faith. This was 
Tkaganlakhatqu, who had been baptized by the name of 
Abraham, and was henceforth generally known as Chief 
Abraham Wright. Before his conversion he was recog- 
nized as a great chief and allowed to be the bravest and 
fiercest Indian in the country. There were in his char- 

62 



THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN 63 

acter many noble traits and also many weak points. 
" I often found him," wrote McCullagh, " a great hin- 
drance to the spread of the Gospel among the heathen. 
He wanted everything to be done by force and with an 
imperial hand ; he could not understand why anyone 
should be at liberty to reject God's Holy Gospel. He 
would put all such revilers in irons and keep them there 
until they repented ! Nevertheless, there ran through 
his disposition a large vein of tenderness and magnanimity. 
He would die for the cause of truth in the whole much 
more readily than he would comply with some of its minor 
requirements. But that was because he could grasp the 
idea of the Kingdom of God as a whole better than he 
could comprehend the why and the wherefore of sub- 
ordinate details in their relation to the whole. Under 
given circumstances Abraham would certainly have 
belonged to the ' noble army of Martyrs ' ; indeed, it 
was not his fault that he was not one ! He was a very 
graphic preacher and very fervent in prayer ; as for 
singing, he put his whole heart and soul into it, and indeed 
all his throat and lungs too." 

His progress in grace was very remarkable. The 
natural man remained always ; but as the spiritual man 
grew, the evil instincts and base qualities of heredity 
became less and less marked, while the noble qualities 
of courage and generosity became refined and sanctified 
by grace, proving the truth of that old inspired utterance, 
" The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth 
more and more unto the perfect day." 1 

Two incidents in his life illustrate this. They are thus 
described by McCullagh in the annual letter he wrote in 
1905 for private circulation among the friends of his work 
at home : 

" Shortly after I first came to Aiyansh I saw Abraham 
training a dog to draw a sled upon the ice in front of the 
Mission-house. The poor animal was of course anything 
but clever at this work, and tried Abraham's temper and 
patience so sorely that he belaboured the unfortunate 
1 Proverbs iv. 18. 



64 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

brute most unmercifully with a stick, and continued to 
do so even after the dog lay quivering and senseless upon 
the ice. The sight of this so aroused my indignation 
that I strode down the bank fully determined upon giving 
Abraham exactly what he had given the dog ; but by 
great grace I was enabled to confine my castigation to 
words only. These, however, were so effectual that 
Abraham expressed immediate regret for what he had 
done, and promised never to ill-treat a dog again. 

" As a sequel, and by way of contrast, let me add the 
following incident : A few years ago the council con- 
demned some distempered dogs to be destroyed, and 
Abraham and Jonathan were deputed to carry this order 
into effect. Away they went accordingly, Jonathan 
carrying the rifle and Abraham leading the dogs. ' Now 
then/ said Jonathan, ' just hold this one out a bit while I 
put the muzzle to his ear/ 

" ' Wait a moment, my son/ replied Abraham, ' not so 
fast; let us pray first/ And, kneeling down on the 
shingle, he began, ' O God, the Creator of all things that 
live, these poor dogs are Thine, the work of Thy hands. 
We do not willingly or wantonly destroy the life that 
Thou hast given them. But as a matter of necessity we 
are compelled to put them away on account of the children, 
lest they should contract an evil disease from them. Have 
mercy upon us, therefore, for we do not seek to dishonour 
Thee in this matter/ ' Now/ he added, turning to 
Jonathan, ' you can shoot/ * 

The same law of conduct governed his actions in 
other ways. As his character developed so did his in- 
stincts become refined and his impulses controlled. It 
will be remembered that, of his four wives, there was only 
one who cared enough for him to join him when he first 
renounced his old heathen life. Her name was Esther. 
She was getting old at this time and soon became rather 
blind and less capable of the drudgery which was the usual 
lot of an Indian's wife. Her husband therefore began to 
think of putting her away for a younger woman. McCul- 
lagh was told of this privately ; so, one day, while speaking 



THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN 65 

to Abraham, he said, " I hear you are going to cast off 
your wife." Abraham made no answer. Then his 
spiritual friend and mentor went on to say, " If you were 
getting blind and your wife thought she would leave you 
on that account, how would you like it ? Would you not 
think she was a bad woman ? " After a pause Abraham 
said, " You are quite right I will not cast her off." 

" Some time after this," McCullagh wrote, " I wanted 
each man to have his marriage solemnized in church, 
and every one agreed to do so. But on the day when 
the ceremony was being performed Abraham declined at 
the last moment to marry Esther, although the poor old 
woman had prepared for it and was looking as tidy as 
possible. This showed me that he still cherished the idea 
of putting her away, so I said to him, ' You have still that 
intention in your heart ; why don't you put it into prac- 
tice ? We will have a special wife-putting-away ceremony 
next week ! ' 

" Time passed away ; Abraham did not cast off Esther, 
and I had quite forgotten that the marriage had not been 
solemnized in church ; a certain number were being 
prepared for Confirmation with a view to the Holy Com- 
munion being administered. The day for the first Com- 
munion was drawing nigh, and I was astonished to find 
that Abraham did not think he would communicate. 
Questioning him elicited nothing, and I was puzzled to 
know what was keeping him back. However, a week 
before the time he came to me and, after much hesitation, 
asked, ' Chief, can you marry me to-morrow ? * Ah ! here 
was the reason of his hanging back. ' What do you want 
to be married in such a hurry for now ? ' I inquired. ' I 
want to be present at Communion,' he replied, with an 
audible tremor in his voice, ' and I would like Esther to 
be with me/ And so it was done as he desired." 

It can easily be understood that even a brave Indian 
like Abraham stood considerably in awe of the white Chief, 
who spoke to him so plainly and who would make no 
compromise with his faults and failings. 

" I happened to be in my dispensary one morning," 



66 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

wrote McCullagh, " when Abraham and a new convert 
came into the waiting-room. Not expecting me to be 
there so early, their conversation was loud and free. 
Abraham was giving his companion hints as to how he 
should behave, especially with regard to the missionary. 
' Smile,' he said, ' always smile when you speak to him, 
and say " Ahm " when he tells you to do anything. It is 
better to meet a grizzly bear than come near him when he 
is angry ! You can always tell ; if you see two little red 
spots in his cheeks, then get out of his way as fast as you 
can ! Mind you never go to sleep in church, because he 
will stop preaching and call on you to wake up, and you 
will be ashamed. He is very warm-hearted when preach- 
ing — he kicked the front out of the pulpit a few Sundays 
ago ! ' Here I thought it was time to cough ! ' wad 
some power the giftie gie us, to see oorsels as ithers see 
us ! ' " 

It will be remembered that Abraham had first left his 
native village in order to defend a school-house at Aiyansh. 
This was afterwards put into a good state of repair by 
McCullagh, and one winter was used by him as a hospital. 
There were five patients in it, and Abraham and Esther 
were in charge of them, when suddenly, one evening, the 
whole place was in flames. It was just possible to get the 
patients out safely, but their belongings were all burnt, 
and so were Abraham's possessions. The heathen up the 
river, seeing the flames, came down to ascertain what was 
on fire. Their presence seemed to excite Abraham, and he 
began talking loudly to himself. 

" There is among the Indians a custom which consists 
in shaking eagle's down on a person's head in order to 
pacify him, and if the putting on of this down be accom- 
panied by an invitation to a feast, the person dare not 
refuse the invitation. 

" Before Abraham was aware, then, two heathen chiefs 
were shaking the downy eagle's feathers over his head, 
loudly inviting him to a feast that very night and, having 
done this, the whole heathen party returned to their 
village to make preparations for this dance and feast, 



THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN 67 

which they intended to be the means of drawing back 
Abraham Wright into heathenism. Soon after their 
departure Abraham came to me and asked my advice. 
' Take no notice of their invitation/ I said. • Yes/ he 
replied, ' I would if I thought I should soon die, but I am 
ashamed to break the custom of the feathers ! ' ' Well/ 
I said, ' if you must go, go in the strength of the Spirit, 
and take two Christian friends with you.' 

" So about ten o'clock they started off for the heathen 
village, but before reaching it they had to traverse a long 
valley at the end of which stood the heathen houses. 
While going through this valley they could see the flames 
shooting out through the opening in the roof of the 
principal chief's house, where the feast was going to be ; 
they could hear the loud hau-hauing of the men, the shrill 
voices of the women, the tom-toming of the boys and the 
excited barking of the dogs. This foretaste of the 
temptation into which they were about to enter took the 
heart out of them. ' Let us pray ! ' cried Abraham ; and 
down the three Christians fell upon their knees in the 
snow, praying God to deliver them out of the snare. How 
long they remained praying they could not say, but I 
should judge more than fifteen minutes. Rising to their 
feet, calmed and strengthened, they resumed their journey 
but were astonished now not to see any light in the village 
before them, nor to hear any sound ; a dead silence seemed 
to have fallen on the place. 

" Wonderingly they went on, passed through the village 
and returned without seeing anyone ; in every house there 
was darkness, the dogs had all been called in and the 
fires extinguished for the night. They came and told me 
all this on their return, but it seemed inexplicable to me. 
What could it mean ? Next morning, however, we heard 
the reason of it all. It appears that when the preparations 
for the dance and feast were at their height, the wife of 
the principal chief stood forth and addressed her husband, 
advising and cautioning him to have nothing to do with 
any attempt to draw back Abraham into heathenism. 
* Hitherto/ she said, ' you have held your chieftainship 



68 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

without any molestation from the white man ; you have 
never suffered the indignity of being brought before a 
judging-man (magistrate). Why then will you run the 
risk of getting into trouble now you are old ? Leave 
Abraham alone, you do not live by him.' This speech 
caused the chief to cover his mouth with his hand, in 
which attitude he pondered awhile ; and then, turning to 
the young men, he said, ' Quench the fires ! Away, go 
every one to his own house ; let there be no more words 
to-night.' 

" This was taking place while, not a mile away, the three 
Christians were on their knees in the snow, praying. I 
never knew anything have such an effect for good upon 
Abraham as this little experience of God's love and care. 
He seemed to think that God had remembered his pas- 
sionate defence of that same house years before and had 
defended him when its burning brought him into a snare." 

Abraham was very keen on learning to read his own 
language, and he made good progress. He developed the 
gift of preaching, knowing many parts of the Bible well 
and effectively, pointing his sermons with illustrations 
drawn from the common incidents of Indian life. 

McCullagh commissioned him to lead a band of open- 
air preachers to a heathen tribe at their fishing-camp. He 
became a pillar of strength to the Christians at Aiyansh, 
and during the absence of the missionary on furlough 
in England he was able to take charge of the mission 
with conspicuous success. He tried hard to become 
civilized in his manners and in the way he conducted 
the affairs of his household, showing what a real power 
the Gospel of Christ has to uplift a man socially as well as 
morally and spiritually. His devotion to McCullagh 
evoked a glad response from that warm-hearted man, who 
felt able to write of him years afterwards in these words. 
" From being a poor benighted heathen, having no hope 
and without God in the world, he is now a dear brother 
in Christ, whom I respect and love, and who, without any 
exaggeration, I can truly say, deeply loves me." 
Abraham's name will appear again, incidentally, in one 



THE RED MAN AS A CHRISTIAN 69 

or two later chapters ; but this seems the most fitting 
place in which to insert a brief record of his decease : 1 
" Abraham's death was triumphant ; with his last 
breath he sang, ' Lakhaim Zabi-Vl'l amit ge ' (My heavenly 
home is bright and fair), and then, waving his hand to 
his friends, he passed in through the gates." 

1 He died in October 1901, his wife following him a month 
later. 



CHAPTER X 

The Art of Healing 

THE Medical Mission Auxiliary of the Church Mis- 
sionary Society was inaugurated in the year 1891, 
and has proved itself of inestimable value as an adjunct 
to the spiritual work of the Church in heathen countries. 
But when McCullagh first went out to British Columbia 
the medical side of missionary work was almost an un- 
known quantity. And yet nothing was more important 
for most missionaries than to have some acquaintance with 
medicine and surgery. 

" From the first," he wrote, " I found that my effici- 
ency as a missionary to the Indians must depend largely 
on a practical knowledge of medicine and of the treatment 
of disease. Now, to begin with, I knew absolutely nothing 
in this line beyond a bowing acquaintance with physiology 
and anatomy. However, that was not a bad foundation 
on which to begin the study of drugs and the symptoms of 
disease. I therefore provided myself immediately with a 
supply of medicines, a medical dictionary and a couple 
of good medical works and, with these to guide me, my 
study and practice went along determinedly, hand in 
hand. The Indians took it for granted that, being a white 
man, I knew everything there was to be known under the 
sun ; and this expectation I had to live up to as best I 
could. A clinical thermometer is a wonderful little instru- 
ment, not only for the information it imparts, but also for 
the professional air it gives to one's diagnostic prelimin- 
aries, and for the confidence with which it inspires the 
wondering Indian patient. The same may be also said 
of the stethoscope. With the aid of these, coupled with 

70 






THE ART OF HEALING 71 

downright study of my books, I found myself effecting 
cures. I gave myself up to this work without stint or 
grudging. It filled me with joy to be able to remove pain 
or suffering in any degree. 

" As a backwoods missionary one forfeits all that the 
world can give in the way of social pleasure, convenience 
and comfort ; but it is ample and sufficient compensation 
to have the joy and satisfaction of helping those who 
really cannot help themselves in times of trouble, sickness 
and distress, to say nothing of leading them out of the 
darkness of heathenism into the light of Christianity." 

Before long, annual grants of medicines were supplied 
to McCullagh by the Dominion Government. There was 
a certain amount of risk to be run by the novice in 
practising medicine and surgery among a people who 
understood nothing of the real nature of disease or the 
necessity of obeying the directions of their medical 
adviser. 

For instance, the Indian would carry home from the 
dispensary a bottle of medicine with instructions to take a 
large spoonful in the morning and another in the evening. 
In his house he would sit down and look at the bottle. 
It puzzled him to know why he should take only a small 
quantity at a time, until he thinks he has solved the 
problem — " If one spoonful can do me good, half the 
bottle may cure me at once." And forthwith he has two 
or three swigs, to be followed by the rest of the bottle 
before he goes to bed, and in half an hour he comes back 
to the missionary to complain that he must have given 
him the wrong stuff, for " it made him feel so sick ! " 

McCullagh's sense of humour shows itself in the follow- 
ing incident : Shagaitkshiwan was one of those who were 
early drawn to the Aiyansh settlement for instruction. 
At first he was very unsatisfactory, being a wild sort of 
man, and for many years the missionary had to keep him 
back from baptism. 

" He used to gamble the clothes off his back at the 
heathen village where he was wont to go and stay for days 
together, coming back to the mission again like the 



72 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

prodigal son. I could not get him to learn anything ; all 
instruction seemed so irksome to him. At first I com- 
pelled him to attend with the others, but he set me at 
defiance by putting his fingers in his ears, and sitting 
there with his elbows on his knees. For several evenings 
he did this, and then he went on a hunting expedition. 
It was winter, and having to make his way up the side of a 
hill, he kept the forefinger of his right hand in the muzzle 
of his rifle to keep the snow from getting into it. A 
twig, however, caught the hammer, and bang went the 
gun, blowing Shagaitkshiwan's finger off. He came home 
in a very sorry plight and sent for me to dress his wound, 
thus providing me with my first surgical operation. He 
caused quite a deep feeling of sympathy by his woebegone 
appearance and asked me if the wound would be very 
serious, to which I replied, ' Yes, very ; you will never be 
able to put that finger into your ear again/ " 

After this, Shagaitkshiwan took a turn for good, giving 
up his gambling habits and manifesting a real desire to 
learn the truth. In a couple of years he had quite aban- 
doned his wild ways and was baptized by the name of 
Moses, after which he was always called Moses Wan. 
Henceforth he led a humble Christian life and showed 
considerable ambition to be a civilized member of society. 

Sometimes a patient would forget to take his medicine 
during the day, but when the evening came he remem- 
bered the omission and thought he would make up for it 
by taking three doses at once. The humorous side of the 
red man's ignorance sometimes displayed itself, as the 
following story shows : 

" Once an old chief paid me a visit, saying he had heard 
that the white man had medicine which could make people 
young again ; he would like me to give him some ! 
1 Well,' said I, ' I have nothing that will make a man 
young again, but I may be able to give you something to 
strengthen you.' Yes, that would do very well, that was 
what he meant. ' Now/ I said, ' you must go and stay 
in A's house until to-morrow morning, when I will attend 
you/ Meantime I thought some beef -tea would do the 






THE ART OF HEALING 73 

old man good, so having made a mugful from Liebig's 
extract, I took it to him with some biscuits. In the 
Indian language there is only one word for ' beef ' and 
1 cow,' so that when I handed the mug to the old man and 
told him what it was, the idea which came into his head 
was not to be wondered at. How was the poor old 
fellow to draw the line between cow tea and cow's tea ? 

" He did not say anything just then, but the following 
morning I heard he had sent for his friends, and that they 
were all holding a council concerning the great indignity 
I had put upon their chief. 

" Going into the midst of them I inquired what was the 
matter. At first no one would speak, but presently the 
old chief intimated that he was a very great person 
indeed. Telling off on his fingers the various points which 
went to show the essence of this greatness, and winding up 
by expressing his astonishment that I had treated him 
like an animal, he declared that he would receive no 
further help at my hands. ' But, my good friend,' said 
I, ' this is not animal's medicine ; it is rather good stuff 
made from the flesh of a cow.' As there never was a cow 
within eighty-five miles of the place, and as cow's flesh 
never reached my backwoods table, he failed to understand 
how it could have been made as I described and became 
more confirmed in his own opinion than ever. 

" The whole party then left, returning together on the 
ice, but before long the old man slipped and fell, sus- 
taining a serious injury to the back of his head. This 
accident was put down to my account ; no doubt I was 
well up in witchcraft, and this I had brought about by 
way of revenge. For a long time the old man was in a 
dangerous condition ; his tribe had a council-meeting, 
and named two of his nephews as avengers in case of his 
death. Eventually, however, he recovered, and so the 
avengers were not wanted." 

The missionary's efforts to alleviate pain and disease 
were bitterly resented by the native doctors or " medicine- 
men." Like Demetrius, the Ephesian silversmith, and his 
fellow workmen, they foresaw that their craft was in 



74 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

danger, and the hope of their gains would soon be gone. 
The medicine-man was a person of great power and 
influence among the Indians. 

" When anyone is taken ill he is sent for at once, the 
messenger usually taking with him at least half the fee 
intended to be paid. If satisfied with this the medicine- 
man proceeds to get ready for work by smearing his body 
all over with red earth, painting his face, putting on his 
kilt, leggings, bearskin cloak and adorning his head with 
either a crown of bears' claws or a mask. He then takes 
his rattle and fetish, and off he goes to make his call. 
Should he, on entering the house where his patient is 
lying, be taken with a short catching of the breath or an 
inclination to sigh, he regards it as a favourable omen 
and promises a speedy cure. But should such symptoms 
be absent, he considers the case to be very serious, if not 
fatal, and will not just then issue any favourable bulletin. 
In any case he will begin rattling away, jumping round the 
patient to the tom-toming of a number of boys, who 
usually accompany him. His idea is to drive out the 
spirit of sickness which he supposes to have entered into 
the patient, but if he fail to accomplish this, he consults 
with other medicine-men as to the nature of the disease 
and the probable hiding-place of the spirit of health or 
soul of the sick person. The accuracy with which they 
pretend to describe the patient's internal condition to 
his friends is most amusing, and many and curious are 
the terms used by them to denote complications of the 
disease. 

" To ascertain the hiding-place of the spirit of health it 
is necessary that one of their number should be sent into 
spirit-land ; and this is done by pouring on the head of the 
one selected a continuous stream of ice-cold water until 
he is rendered unconscious. In this state of insensibility 
he is accredited with supernatural powers of vision and, 
on regaining consciousness, tells where he has seen the 
spirit. Generally the hiding-place is the tomb of some 
great medicine-man of the generations that have gone ; 
and thither they all repair to offer a sacrifice of fish-oil to 



THE ART OF HEALING 75 

his spirit and to extract the truant soul of their patient 
from among his bones. After laying bare the tomb, one 
of their number crawls in among the bones with his eyes 
shut (it is only with closed eyes they can see these souls) 
and hands outstretched at the ' Ready.' The others are 
standing round rattling, hee-heeing and haw-hawing to 
their lungs' extent. Out pops the hiding spirit (at least 
so I suppose), to be grabbed by the outstretched hands of 
the watcher, who cries out, ' I've got him ' (Lthanigodt), 
whereupon they all wend their way home again to put 
on or restore the lost spirit to its owner. This is done by 
the one who has caught the spirit passing his hands over 
the patient's head and uttering certain words. Sometimes 
the spirit is discovered to have gone into the stomach of 
one of the doctors themselves — inadvertently swallowed 
by him at dinner ! But the other doctors very quickly 
make this greedy one disgorge ; their method, however, I 
will forbear to describe. 

" One part of the medicine-man's duty I must not omit 
to mention, viz., the mastication of his patient's food in bad 
cases. But this is merely a matter of self-precaution lest 
he should be accused of poisoning in the event of the 
person dying. 

" All this would appear very amusing to an enlightened 
Englishman, were it not for the painful earnestness with 
which the Indians enter into it. It is not to be supposed 
that there is no anxiety in an Indian household over a 
member lying sick, or that an Indian, because he is yet a 
savage, has no feeling. Many white men treat the Indian 
as though he had none, whereas he is highly sensitive in 
every way. Their affection for their children is very 
marked, though some would deny them the credit of this. 
But I knew an Indian so grieved over the death of his 
only child sitting, on the night of its death, out on the 
river-bank, with upturned face and outstretched hands, 
wailing and moaning, ' My child ! My child ! ' until the 
intense frost silenced his voice and the pain at his heart for 
ever. 

" When the medicine-men found I was really effecting 



76 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

cures, and that the sick were being brought to me rather 
than to them, they gave out a law that first a sick person 
should be rattled over, and then he could be brought to me 
or I to him. Or, if it were not possible to rattle over them 
before they were attended to by me, they must be rattled 
over afterwards. How manifestly clever ! They would 
thus be able to take the credit of every recovery, and 
saddle me with every failure. Then too I made a law, that 
I would not on any account receive for treatment any 
person who had been rattled over by a medicine-man. 
This retaliatory decree caused a great commotion in 
heathen circles, and they tried their Indian cunning 
on me in every way possible, but without effect. 

" We had an epidemic of measles once, and sixty-one 
children were down at one time in Gitlakdamiks alone. 
These were all being treated by me, and would undoubtedly 
have recovered, but the medicine-men secretly prevailed 
upon the parents to have my work supplemented by 
the rattle, and so they exposed these poor children for 
hours in zero weather, and spurted (as is their custom) 
ice-cold water over their naked bodies. When the 
children all died they boldly declared it was the white 
man's medicine which had caused their death. But the 
fact that all the children who were entirely in my own 
hands at the Mission recovered showed the people that this 
was false. 

" In dentistry, too, I have had a little experience. How 
well I remember my first attempt ! My patient was 
suffering acutely, but alas ! I had no forceps with which 
to extract the offending molar. Still one must never give 
in to difficulties. At any rate one ought to try to overcome 
them before giving in, and even then I would say, ' Don't 
give in.' While my patient waited I made a pair of forceps 
from an iron rod, and within two hours the patient and 
I were offering each other our mutual congratulations. 
It was a good forceps, too, and did duty in twenty-eight 
other cases before being superseded by a more scientific 
instrument/' 

Besides medicine and dentistry, McCullagh felt obliged 




THE REV. J. B. MCCULLAGH IN THE DRESS OF AN INDIAN 
MEDICINE- MAN. 



THE ART OF HEALING 77 

to deal with difficult cases both in surgery and mental 
disorders, requiring natural skill of hand, a cool head and 
a clear judgment, which the two following incidents, 
told in his own graphic way, will illustrate : 

1. A CASE UNPARALLELED IN SURGERY 

" There was an Indian who formed one of an early 
spring hunting party from a distant village. During their 
wanderings among the mountains he got separated from 
his companions and, in crossing a frozen shallow stream, 
slipped through the ice and got wet feet. The day had 
been fine, but towards evening it began to freeze very 
hard, so the hunter set about lighting a fire in order to 
dry his wraps and moccasins, but when he put his hand 
in his pouch to get his matches he found them all damped 
with snow which had somehow got into it. Then he tried 
to ignite a little heap of dried twigs and moss by dis- 
charging his rifle into it, but shot away all his powder 
with no avail. His companions, however, heard him 
shooting, and were able thus to trace him, though they 
were too late to save his feet from being frozen. They 
then brought him to Aiyansh to me ; but what could I do ? 
It was necessary to amputate the fore part of each foot ; 
no skill was needed to see that. But how was I to do it 
without proper instruments, of which I had none ? How- 
ever, I did it eventually with my pocket knife, a pair of 
scissors and a small tenon saw ; and the man made a good 
recovery, learning, during his convalescence, the Gospel 
of Christ. He never returned to heathenism, but con- 
tinued joyfully to learn the way of salvation, and was 
subsequently baptized, taking the name of William 
Frost. As a Christian he was a great satisfaction to me 
and most useful ; wherever there was a sick person there 
was William daily, teaching, exhorting and comforting. 
This he did for five years, growing himself meanwhile 
into a spiritually-minded man of prayer, and finally dying 
the death of the righteous in Christ. He left a widow, 
a devoted, humble-minded Christian woman, named 
Hannah " 



78 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

2. A UNIQUE INSTANCE OF MENTAL 
THERAPEUTICS 

" We met for worship one lovely Sunday in June in our 
little shack-church at Aiyansh. On his new-fledged wings 
the missionary sought to rise to the occasion ; his teach- 
ing was full of illustrations drawn from Indian life ; his 
appeal and application were convincing, and he was 
cheered to behold the expression of rapt attention on the 
faces of his hearers, when lo ! in the doorway stood the 
grinning, gibbering figure of a perfectly naked wild man of 
the woods. An idiotic laugh brought every head round 
as on a swivel. 

" The missionary cried, ' Catch him ! ' 

" The women exclaimed, ' Duanai ! ' 

"The men jumped. 

"But the figure had gone splash into the river, with 
just the remnant of his ' ha-ha-ha ' floating in the air 
behind him. 

" This was my first introduction to T'Gak — just a nod- 
ding acquaintance, destined to grow into a closer friend- 
ship later. He was, I learned, from Gitlakdamiks, and 
had been rather ■ dotty ' all his life, but had quite gone off 
his head lately ; and now he lived as a wild man of the 
woods. 

" Next Sunday he appeared again. Several men suc- 
ceeded in getting hold of him, yet they could not keep 
him ; he slipped through their fingers and into the river 
as before. But when he turned up the third time we got 
him — hooked him like a sheep — and deposited him in one 
of the shacks. Sitting there before him and looking into 
his monkey-like eyes, I wondered what I was going to do 
with him. No matter what I said I failed to kindle a 
gleam of intelligence in his eyes. At last I tried the line 
of fear. Pulling out my pocket-knife I pretended to make 
a jab at him ; he winced, and a flash of apprehension 
glimmered for an instant in his eye. Putting back my 
knife I followed the clue. ' You have too much blood, too 
much blood,' I insisted, looking fixedly at him. ' I take 
some blood/ I went on, repeating the words many times. 



THE ART OF HEALING 79 

It seemed as if the word blood had really penetrated to 
his brain ; and so I made up my mind to try an experi- 
ment, rushing in, I suppose, where angels would have feared 
to tread. I had been delving into Gall and other writers 
on the brain, and had been much interested, and it 
occurred to me that if I could reach the brain I might get 
a result. So, having taken two or three intelligent 
Indians into my confidence and instructed them in the 
parts they were to play, we took the patient (I had almost 
said the victim) and laid him out upon a table and bound 
him down. His arms were then held out at right angles 
by two assistants, each of whom had a tin bucket at his 
feet and a bottle of warm water coloured with red ink in 
his pocket. In my own hand appeared a little blade of 
gleaming steel. Again I insisted, ' Too much blood, too 
much blood — I take some blood,' looking into his eyes 
and pressing the forefinger of my right hand on the middle 
of his brow. Then we blindfolded him, and I noticed a 
tremor of the lips. 

" There was a dead silence. With a chip I sharply 
scratched each arm, my assistants dropping warm water 
on the places, and this trickling down the forearm fell 
drop-drop-drop into the buckets. The dropping continued 
and could be distinctly heard above the deep breathing of 
my assistants and the ticking of my watch, as I kept my 
fingers on the pulse. 

" At a motion of my head a man cried out : ' Awnai 
gusgaul ile ! ' ('Oh dear, what a quantity of blood ! ') 
Then silence again. Another motion of my head and two 
others made the same exclamation. The pulse was now 
distinctly feeble, then it began missing a beat or two ; 
so I thought it was time to stop, and gave the word ' Clear 
away.' 

" There was a bustling sound of washing and wiping 
and moving buckets ; pieces of adhesive plaster were put 
on each ' wound ' and the bandage removed from the 
eyes. Our subject lay as limp as a rag, but in his eye there 
was a natural look, as he gasped out : ' Ukdak nei ! ' 
f I'm hungry ! '). 



8o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 



. 



" We took him to Abraham's shack, put him to b 
and gave him some food, and by and by he fell asleep 
Every day I visited him and talked with him, and pres- 
ently walked about with him, clothed and in his right 
mind. 

" T'Gak stayed on at Aiyansh, became a candidate for 
baptism, and was eventually baptized. Soon after this 
we had a revival of religion among the Indians and, as is 
usual in such cases, there was a good deal of emotional 
excitement in the air. Personally I don't favour this kind 
of thing ; it does not help to ' build up,' and the results 
as a rule are not lasting. But we must take hold of 
things as they transpire and try to make the best of 
everything. Joseph, as he was now called, got very 
excited, and one night I heard him out on the street, 
yelling and shouting and praying. I thought, ' He will 
soon be crazy again if he goes on like that.' So I got up 
and dressed and went out to him as he stood addressing 
the stars. Slipping my arm through his I led him into the 
mission house. In a low, quiet voice I talked to him, and 
he responded on a high falsetto note ; it took him some 
time to divest his voice of the timbre of the stars. We 
sat together all night and in the early morning I got him to 
bed. But it was a near thing. 

" In after years a company of the Church Army was 
formed at Aiyansh, which Joseph joined. He took turns 
at carrying the banner and beating the drum when the 
Army marched forth to war. Once, when the Army 
marched 150 miles in zero weather over the snow to 
preach to the heathen on the Skeena River and got lost 
in a blizzard on their return, it was Joseph who enabled 
them to weather the storm. He climbed a tree to the 
very top and took observations, he located springs and 
spied out camping-places where there was plenty of dry 
fuel. And when one of the party got frozen feet it was 
Joseph who rubbed snow on them and rushed the man 
forward on his own sled at express speed. When the 
Army returned Joseph was a hero ! And he had all the 



THE ART OF HEALING 81 

true marks of a hero, for he never thought he had done 
more than his ' little bit ! ' 

" But, alas and alack ! sore trouble came on Joseph. 
He married an attractive Indian maiden. To please her 
and to buy many things that she coveted he went off to 
the goldfields to work, taking her with him. For an 
Indian with a young comely wife this was a disastrous 
venture. Jealousies arose and quarrels ensued. Then 
she left him, saying that, because he was once mad, no 
bond or tie held good in his case. 

" After this I lost sight of my young friend for some 
years, and then it came to my knowledge that another man 
(a heathen) was * leading about ' his wife, and that they 
sometimes passed through my district. 

" It was with great joy and pleasure that I saw Joseph 
sitting, one Sunday, in his old place in church. His eyes 
were fastened on me during the sermon, and there was a 
look of conflicting emotion on his face. After service he 
came to see me in the vestry. He was trembling, and 
it plainly cost him an effort to control himself. 

" ' I will speak to you, master,' he cried. ' You know 
about me, that I have been made an outcast, and that 
every day I eat my tears with my food, and my heart is 
sore within me. The man who has done this thing is 
making himself happy on my unhappiness, and the fire 
is warm in his wilp (house). Behold ! I go mourning 
and sad, and there is no fire alight in my wilp. Thinking 
of these things, my heart arose within me and said : " I 
will avenge myself on that man, I will trample his life into 
the earth with my feet — I shall be satisfied." I knew they 
were coming up this way, and I came here yesterday with 
the full intention of sitting across that man's trail and 
killing him.' 

" Here he broke down and, putting his face in his hands, 
he wept. ' Oh, Mini Jesus,' he groaned, ' gaimgaudin 
laui, gaimgaudin laui ! ' (' Oh, Lord Jesus, have mercy on 
me, have mercy on me ! ') 'I was in great darkness,' he 
went on, ' but now the light of heaven has once more 
shined across my path, and I cannot go that way any 

F 



82 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

farther. I have heard again the words of life, the darkness 
has been cleft in twain, and I have seen the glory of God 
this morning. I now let go of my intention. My hands 
shall not shed that man's blood. I could not go away 
again without telling you, my father. My heart is calm 
now, my heart is happy, and I will try to follow the Lord 
Jesus Christ all the days of my life.' 

" I gave him my blessing ; I assured him of God's 
readiness to forgive, of God's gracious mercy and pro- 
tection to those who, amid all the trials and tribulations 
of life, put their trust in Him, that always and ever 
around and under us are the everlasting arms, and that 
He will never leave us nor forsake His own. I have not 
seen Joseph since, but I am told he is doing well, and 
that the fire of the love of God is alive in his wilp to 
comfort him. 

" No comment is made upon the restoration of my friend 
to a normal condition of mind. Science ' knows its own 
know,' and the verdict is that the shock I administered 
neutralized the effects of a previous shock — probably one 
received in infancy — and restored the balance of nature. 
What is of interest to me is that a brand has been snatched 
from the burning, and one more soul added to the ' great 
multitude that no man can number who have washed 
their robes and made them white in the blood of the 
Lamb* 

" It was very largely my amateur medical work which, 
under God, was the means of gathering together many 
Indians under the influence of the Gospel. Very few of 
the people who were brought from the heathen to me for 
treatment ever returned to their old ways after recovery. 
They remained at the Mission and settled down there ; 
and in this way the Mission grew into a small town in 
the course of years, until to-day the Indian medicine- 
man and his rattle are seen and heard no more/' 



CHAPTER XI 

Indian Fishing Camps and Salmon Rivers 

THE estuary of the Naas is famous for its spring and 
summer fishing. (jYbout the middle of March the 
oolachan come in shoals to the mouth of the river. This 
fish, otherwise called the straik, is about the size of a 
sardine, and is chiefly caught for the sake of its oiL | Many 
tribes of Indians come from inland early in March, so as 
to be on the ground before the fish reach the waters of the 
Naas. [They cut holes in the ice through which they let 
down nets, drawing them up when filled. The fish are 
then taken ashore by dogs and sleds, to be boiled in 
trenches made for the purpose. The grease floats on the 
top and is ladled off by the women and packed in boxes, 
either for the Indians' own use or for sale in some ma rkets 
While this process is being carried on it would be difficult 
to find a more odorous spot on earth than Fishery Bay, 
where the principal camp is, about fifteen miles up the 
river, near the extreme limit of tide-water. 

This great annual assemblage of the tribes affords a 
unique opening to the Christian missionary for preach- 
ing the Gospel to large numbers of Indians. It was an 
opportunity which McCullagh never missed except when 
away on furlough. To spend three weeks at Fishery Bay 
during the oolachan season was reckoned by him a most 
important feature of his work. 

An account of one of these visits from his own pen is 
worth inserting : 

" On Thursday April 17 (1890), leaving Aiyansh at 
9 a.m., we (that is, my wife, little daughter * and myself) 

1 Melita, so named after the Greek synonym of Malta, where 
her father and mother first met. 



84 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

walked a short way upon the ice to the open water, where 
our canoe was in readiness. Our camp equipment, pro- 
visions and medicines having been previously put on 
board, we quickly made ourselves comfortable with wraps 
and furs, for a cold north wind was blowing, and, though 
the day was fine, it was freezing hard. The Indians 
shoved off with a hearty ' wai wauh ! ' and away sped our 
shapely bark like a swan down the stream. The country 
was still covered with snow, and large drifts of ice were 
here and there piled up in the shallows and on the bars, 
glistening in the sun. Now and then we shot past 
picturesque nooks in the steep cliffs, where the sprays 
from a tiny cascade were frozen in sparkling beads and 
flashing pendants to the tangled roots and jutting rocks, 
through the light and shade of which gleamed the ener- 
getic little cataract dashing and splashing away with a 
merry ring. 

" On either side of the river the mountains rose like 
towering battlements, white and radiant, so that one's 
eyes became abashed with looking and one's heart over- 
whelmed with a sense of the impossible ; for, though man 
can ride the billows of the mighty deep and ascend 
beyond the clouds, yet who could scale those lofty turrets 
or tread those plains of everlasting snow ? 

" Occasionally our sailors would awake the solitudes by 
striking their paddles against the gunwale of the canoe 
to disencumber them of the ice, a proceeding against 
which both squirrels and crested jays invariably pro- 
tested by irately chattering at us from the adjacent 
trees. 

" About one o'clock, having lit our oil stove and made 
tea, we pulled into a sheltered spot and had some refresh- 
ment. On starting again we put up a sail, by the help 
of which we went spinning onwards. Before long, how- 
ever, we reached some rapids overlooked by a mountain 
gully, whence the wind swept down upon us unexpectedly, 
driving us in the direction of a shallow where, diagonally 
in our front, lay a giant cottonwood tree, root and 
trunk. The water was now running faster than our 



INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 85 

canoe, a fact of which we were not aware until our captain 
sought to steer clear of the obstruction and found he could 
not. With a yell the sail was attacked and literally 
torn down, and then such paddling ! A moment more 
an d the bow of the canoe shot clear of the rooted stump, 
but struck athwart the stern, our captain being nearly 
ousted from his place by an outstretched, vindictive- 
looking root. A brief silence followed this exciting 
joust, when the captain, who might just then have 
passed for a pale-face, declared very fervently that the 
sail should go up no more. But nothing is so soon for- 
gotten as danger ; and before we had made another six 
miles the sail was mended and gallantly unfurled again in 
hope of better fortune. Soon we reached the base of a 
large mountain where the river turns at right angles, and 
where swirled and crunched a vast accumulation of 
broken ice. 

" ' Let us go right into it after this large piece/ shouted 
Philip the captain, referring to an immense block of ice 
which crushed into the floe just in front of us. Accord- 
ingly, in we went, sail and all, the ice immediately closing 
up behind us. But with the aid of long poles we soon 
worked a passage through. From this point we had a 
fair stretch of about fifteen miles to the fishing camp, 
which we reached at five o'clock in the evening, well 
pleased with our trip, and thankful to our Heavenly 
Father for His loving and never-failing care. 

" There is at the camp a small unfurnished C.M.S. 
Mission-house, into which we straightway bundled our 
things. I then hastened off to see our old chief Abraham, 
who was lying in his fish-house, dangerously ill. I found 
him suffering from congestion of the lungs, complicated by 
another complaint peculiar to the Indians (milthatqu), 
really a bad bilious fever. 

" My entrance was greeted by an outburst of wailing 
from the women, Abraham ejaculating, ' God is merciful 
in letting me see your face again. I had almost despaired 
but my heart is strong now ; I shall not die but live,' 
unknowingly quoting Scripture. 



86 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

" What a miserable plight the poor man was in ! No 
English farmer would keep his pigs in such a hovel ; the 
would-be walls all open to the wind and weather ; a 
large opening in the low, leaky roof through which the 
smoke wriggled and struggled ; the floor, a very bog, out 
of which the foul, black water oozed ; and there lay my 
dear old friend, on his couch of fir branches, wrapped in a 
few blankets. The sight quite unmanned me. I could 
only ' hunker ' down by his side in the silent sympathy 
of a breaking heart, while his horny hands held mine 
tremblingly and gratefully, the women standing round, 
wailing ' haiwa, haiwa ! ' But something practical had 
to be done, and that quickly ; so, having spoken a few 
words as I was able, I left to see about some medicine 
for him, though I hardly thought he could recover. But 
God's mercy is everlasting towards them that fear Him. 

" The next morning at 5.30 I was again by Abraham's 
side. He had been delirious during the night, but his 
temperature had gone down a little. After a hasty break- 
fast I made a tour of the camp, visiting fifty or more 
houses, in each of which two or three persons were lying 
ill. What a spectacle of misery, helplessness and utter 
wretchedness they presented ! The grease had to be 
made, no matter who lived or died. Consequently the 
weak and sick were, in most cases, left to take care of 
themselves, while the strong and healthy devoted all their 
attention and energy to the work out-of-doors. There 
they lay on the cold damp ground, shivering by the 
smouldering embers of the fire, which had cooked the 
morning meal of the strong, in many cases too sick to care 
which way the current of life tended. My visit seemed 
to rouse their flagging spirits. 

" Sometimes a poor smoke-dried old woman, too weak 
to work and too withered-up to be sick, would extend her 
upturned hands towards me, shaking them entreatingly, 
as she cried, • Anhka, anhka, Ithgolthqui, Nut ' (' Slave- 
master, slave-master ! my child, sir ! '). Frequently the 
' child ' indicated would turn out to be some old man or 
woman whose childhood was a thing of the remote past. 



INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 87 

The next day (Saturday), in the afternoon, up came a 
pretty little steamer and hove-to in the bay in shapely 
style. It was our Bishop's steamer, the Evangeline, with 
himself as captain. Mr. Collison had also come up from 
Kincolith, so that we bade fair to have a good day on the 
morrow. 

"The C.M.S. Church at the camp partakes rather 
largely as yet of the shanty order of buildings ; it 
is spacious enough and the roof is good, but it still needs 
to be floored, lined and seated. On the Sunday the 
church was well filled at three services ; the Bishop, at 
the morning service, preached a splendid sermon in the 
native tongue, proceeding afterwards to the Holy Com- 
munion. In the afternoon I preached, and in the evening 
Mr. Collison. Between afternoon and evening we had a 
meal together in the little Mission-house. There was a 
small table but no seats, so we had to set up junks of 
firewood on end to serve as chairs. In travelling about in 
this country one has to dispense with everything not 
absolutely necessary ; so you may imagine that our little 
two-f eet-by- three table was not very luxuriously garnished 
— a tin of corned beef, a few soda biscuits and a cup of 
tea. 

" Many notable conversions have taken place among the 
heathen at this camp, and the most interesting mission 
services I have ever attended have been conducted 
here. 

" Three weeks at the camp brought me to the end of 
my own strength. Every one was beautifully conval- 
escent, my old friend Abraham included ; so I thought 
that while I could walk I would get away. But it was no 
easy matter to pack up ; the Indians kept on crowding 
in till the last moment. My head was throbbing with 
pain, and I longed for a breath of fresh air — a less odorous 
atmosphere, which ere long we were enjoying on our 
return voyage to Aiyansh." 

During the months of June, July and August these 
same Indians were employed to catch the salmon which at 
that season abound at the river's mouth. The depots to 



88 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

which the fish are brought are called " Canneries." The 
salmon are landed at the wharf by Chinamen, some of 
whom begin to dress the fish at once, cutting off their 
heads, tails and fins with a knife and cleaning out the 
insides. The fish are then cut up and washed by Indian 
women and girls, soaked for a few minutes in a brine 
tank, pressed into cans (an Americanism for tins, hence 
the name " Canneries "), which, after the process of 
boiling, are hermetically sealed and packed in wooden 
boxes for transport by steamer to their ultimate destina- 
tion, wherever that may be. 

McCullagh, with his wife and daughter, usually spent 
the summer at the " Cove," an inlet walled up on three 
sides by high mountains, so steep and closely overhanging 
that the sun is only visible there during the summer 
months. On the shores of this inlet were several large 
buildings or warehouses, with offices attached, one big 
wooden house for accommodating the Chinese and a num- 
ber of cabins in which the Indians dwelt. On one side of 
the bay, right on the rocks, among the fir-trees on the 
sloping base of the mountain, stood a little shanty, like a 
railway signal-box, beneath the great cliff that over- 
shadowed it. This was the missionary's summer residence. 
Its position was dangerous, owing to loose boulders on the 
slopes above, which might at any time be dislodged, 
undermined by mountain streams. But it was the only 
spot available for the purpose. The greater part of the 

place was owned by two men, an infidel named B and 

his friend Ned D , whose views on religion were not 

much better. These two men refused to let McCullagh 
have a piece of land on which to build his shanty when 
he first went to the Cove in 1888, so he had to build where 
no one else would have dared to take the risk, at the foot 
of a mountain precipice. 

" What is my work at the Canneries ? Well, I have 
plenty of work to do in putting up medicines daily, at- 
tending to the sick, and preparing lessons for my Indian 
readers, many of whom take their lessons with them to 
their fishing-camps. But they all come in from the 



INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 89 

camps on Saturday evenings for the Sunday services. I 
have from four to five services on Sundays ; some are 
mixed, that is to say, some prayers are in the Indian 
tongue, others in English, hymns the same, and the 
Scripture lessons also — one in English and another in 
Indian — while there are two sermons, one for my European 
friends and another for the Indians. Sunday with me is a 
very happy day. I .go from one Cannery to the other, 
holding services at each, and having a chat here and there 
with the whites, or, as they are called out there, ' the 
Boys/ Dear fellows, right glad I am to be there, for their 
sakes, to give them a word in season and a helping hand 
when necessary." 

In one of his Journals for circulation among friends in 
England McCullagh thus described the summer services 
at the Canneries in 1893 : 

" The summer was spent as usual at the Cove. There 
being no place of worship there, I have generally held 
services in the net-loft ; but as only the Christians turned 
out on Sunday mornings, the heathen preferring to lie 
abed until the afternoon, I decided this year to take 
advantage of certain new arrangements made by the 
Company for the better housing of their employees, and to 
hold an open-air service between two parallel rows of 
cabins, and on this we stood in a row (it was only one 
plank wide), and conducted a service of about an hour's 
duration. The cabins were like so many pews, the 
occupants at church nolens volens ! We found the single 
plank a very inconvenient standing place. The ground 
beneath was an accumulation of boggy matter through 
which the water oozed. As there was plenty of room 
between the cabins, we decided on having a collection 
towards erecting a spacious platform. So on Sunday 
morning, July 2, I went down to the cabins about 9.30, 
to beat up my contingent of open-air workers for the 
morning service. At 10.30 we were all on the plank, sing- 
ing. The China house being near at hand, the Chinese 
were out in a body to see — poor fellows, they could not 
hear. After the service two of our members engaged in 



go McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

prayer. Moses Wan, quondam wild man and gambler, 
prayed thus : ' I asked you, O Chief of heaven, to give me 
good success with my fishing and you filled my boat. The 
reason I besought you was that I might be able to help in 
erecting the standing place of which we spoke to you last 
Sunday. I now thank you very much for what you have 
done, and I lay down one dollar for this work.' One by 
one our people laid down their offerings on the plank, 
and then moved away, the last man literally taking up 
the collection, eleven dollars, or about £2 5s. The China- 
men, who are always interested in the clink of money, 
wondered what part of the service this was ! 

" During the week we obtained a supply of material 
and built a very good platform alongside the planked 
way, and there we held open-air service every Sunday 
during the summer, mostly in the rain. Thus the heathen, 
without even the trouble of getting up, had the Gospel 
preached to them. About the end of June a quarrel took 
place between an Indian and a white fisherman, which 
almost brought disaster on the whole community by 
setting race against race. So strongly, indeed, did feeling 
run on the subject that the whites ceased to attend Divine 
service where Indians were present, but God graciously 
restrained the spirits of both parties so that no open 
rupture took place." 

In his Journal for 1910-n, McCullagh sorrowfully 
relates one of the greatest obstacles to his work : 

" During the latter part of September and the earlier 
half of October the Indians who had been away at the 
salmon canneries and other places on the coast, were 
returning to their villages. And this is where the mis- 
sionary is called upon to witness the saddest sight in the 
whole round of his work ; i.e. the annual return of his flock 
utterly demoralized, shorn and torn morally and spiritually 
beyond recognition. It seems to make no difference 
whether the missionary goes with those who go or remains 
at the mission with those who remain at home ; the result 
is the same for those who go to the coast. His presence 
at a cannery does nothing to stop the accursed traffic in 



INDIAN FISHING CAMPS 91 

liquor carried on alike by Chinese, Japanese and a certain 
low class of whites ; it only makes the Indian more cunning 
in getting it and the Chinaman more wily in selling it. 
Whereas, if the missionary set his face against these annual 
migrations and encouraged the Indians to stay at home 
and cultivate their gardens on a larger scale, so as to be 
able to sell the produce thereof, even if that were only 
potatoes, to residents on the coast, they would be much 
better off both spiritually and temporally. But, alas ! 
the bird in the bush has always proved more attractive to 
the Indian than the one in his hand. I suppose it is his 
hunting instinct." ^ 

And yet on the preservation of the salmon depends a 
vast industry in British Columbia. For, not only does it 
give employment to many hundreds of Indians living 
inland, but the welfare of a large number of whites and of 
nearly all the coast-tribe Indians is bound up in this one 
interest. A good salmon river is therefore a valuable 
asset for any country. As the continued run of the fish 
in such a river depends on good spawning grounds, it is 
very important that the upper reaches of the river and the 
lakes by which it is fed should be open and easy of 
access to the fish. The supply of salmon on the Naas was 
never what it should have been, owing to some obstructions 
at the head-waters of the river ; only a small percentage 
of the fish ever being able to surmount these and reach 
Lake Meziadan, which formed their spawning ground. 

In the summer of 1905 the Fisheries Department of the 
Dominion Government asked McCullagh if he would under-, 
take an expedition for the purpose of surveying and 
reporting and eventually engineering the work of removing 
the obstructions. He gladly consented to do this, making 
the expedition his annual holiday and giving six weeks to 
the task. He took with him four Indians to carry supplies 
and equipment. " Desiring," he wrote, " to test by 
experience a phase of Indian life, the inward side of which 
has hitherto been a sealed book to me, I carried my own 
pack; field-kit, camera, plates, etc., and sketching outfit 
— about seventy pounds in all. How enriched I have 



92 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

been by this experience I can hardly say. It was well 
worth the pains. What I really desired was to feel in my 
own body the hardships and temptations peculiar to the 
Indian, that I might be able to understand him better and 
sympathize with him more fully.' ' 

Every night, after getting into camp, he wrote up an 
account of the day's doings. After his return he revised 
the notes of this diary and published it as a serial narrative 
in consecutive numbers of Aiyansh Notes and in the 
North British Columbia News, 1908-1910. 

He was able at the time to write home : "I returned 
from my surveying expedition near the end of October, 
having been out since the middle of September, during 
which time we climbed four hundred miles — I say climbed, 
because that word more closely describes the manner of our 
going than any other. As far as the weather was con- 
cerned our party did not have a dry garment to its 
back for six weeks, nor a dry blanket to sleep in at night ! 
But, as for catching cold, one never does that out in the 
wilds of B.C. It is when one returns to the comforts and 
conveniences of indoor life that one takes cold ! 

" With regard to the object of the expedition ; it has 
been entirely successful. I have been able to send in an 
exhaustive report to the Government, accompanied by 
surveys and photos taken on the spot, maps of salmon- 
spawning streams and lakes, plans and diagrams of 
operations necessary for removing the obstructions at 
Meziadan lake and Salmon river, together with estimates 
for prosecuting the work down to the smallest detail. 
It seemed like old Army times again. 

" It has been a very pleasant holiday for me, full of 
interest and delightfully near to nature." 



CHAPTER XII 

A Forward Movement 

FOR the first six or seven years he spent at Aiyansh 
McCullagh worked as a lay-missionary. In 1890 he 
received his ordination to the office of deacon j.nd priest 
at the hands of the Bishop of Caledonia. ["Those early 
years at the Mission had been spent largely in sowing the 
seed of the Kingdom of God in the hearts of a people who 
needed instruction in the A B C of civilization as well as in 
the elementary principles of the Christian Faith.] And yet, 
even then, the seed sown had produced the firstfruits of a 
rich and abundant harvest. Such a high-born spirit as 
McCullagh possessed could, however, never rest satisfied 
without the kind of progress which had perfection (so far as 
was possible) for its ultimate attainment. The truly 
great mind can under no conditions be content with things 
as they are. Ambition is such a noble quality when rightly 
directed, that the man who lives for the glory of God and 
works for the welfare of his fellow-men can never acquiesce 
in mediocrity where the soul of any human being is con- 
cerned. Nothing is more apparent, nothing was more 
fundamental or more passionately felt by this crusader to 
the land of the red man, than the noble purpose hie 
cherished of raising to the highest possible standard [the 
Indian tribe which had jj>een reared in barbarism, super- 
stition and degradation^ No half -measures of social or 
religious enfranchisement for them could satisfy his eager 
desire for their well-being. The strength and reality of his 
faith in the power and love of Christ to save impelled him 
to believe that the Lord was able to uplift the Nishga 
Indians to the same spiritual plane that the white man had 

93 



94 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

reached. He believed that he was commissioned by his 
Divine Master to accomplish such a purpose. If we 
bear this in mind we can more easily understand the 
projects he formed and the very great success with which 
his efforts were crowned. But the road was often rough, 
and obstacles had to be removed with patient toil and 
perseverance. Thus he wrote of the plans which took 
definite shape in his mind during the transition period 
which reached its climax about the date of his ordination : 

" During the first six years of the Mission, the converts, 
gathered in from the surrounding heathen tribes, built 
each for himself a little ' shack ' upon the river bank. 
And these shacks were so close together as to resemble 
peas in a pod, a very bad arrangement from a sanitary 
point of view. Moreover, they were so small and so over- 
crowded that it was impossible to attempt anything like 
the inculcation of new habits among the people. They 
were practically worse off than the heathen, for the houses 
of the latter were very large, airy, open and spacious, and, 
though many families lived together in them, they had 
ample room and were not insanitary. 

The more therefore the Mission grew, the more 
dissatisfied I became. It seemed a fortuitous, happy-go- 
lucky way of attempting to do a really great work. Had 
the Mission been established in a heathen village, the con- 
dition of the village, the houses and their surroundings, 
would not have reproached me nor appeared inconsistent 
with the moral obligations of the Mission. But at Aiyansh, 
it seemed to me, the Mission which drew converts there 
was responsible for the way they lived and settled down, 
and if responsible for them individually (which cannot be 
denied) how much more so collectively ? Therefore the 
project of a village or town in connection with the 
Church must be regarded as consistent with the work of the 
Mission. How very inefficient the Mission appeared when 
viewed from this standpoint ! 

u I looked around on the splendid and perfectly flat 
piece of land on the edge of which the Indian shacks were 
perched, like a row of insensate seagulls peering into the 



A FORWARD MOVEMENT 95 

water, and the sight inspired me with the idea of laying out 
a small site. Immediately therefore I set about the 
prosecution of this idea ; but when the Indians understood 
what my object was they thought I had taken leave of 
my senses. Not while the world was a world could they 
think of putting up a house anywhere except on the river 
bank ! They could not see what canoes were passing ! 
They would never hear any malasqu (gossip) ! Every one 
was dead against me, and the heathen made songs on the 
idiotic white man's project. But I made my survey and 
drew up a map showing the streets and lots laid out, and 
this I hung up in my medicine room where every one could 
see it. I also made coloured sketches of what the new 
town would look like, painting in fancy fences, shrubs, 
planked side-walks, street lamps and a variety of pretty 
houses. I would have no other topic of conversation 
with anyone. I dreamed dreams for the Indians and fed 
them with my idea until they, too, began to dream the 
same dream. I began the design of a church, and the 
Indians used to gather round and take an intelligent 
interest in the sketches I made, but they always shook their 
heads at the tower and spire. How beautiful a church with 
a tower and spire would look at the end of the main 
street, with the forest timber showing up behind and the 
hills and mountains rising up immediately beyond ! And 
I would like to make it large enough too, to accommodate 
400, for surely the heathen would be gathered in one day. 
' I will concentrate all my energies upon achieving that 
object,' I thought." 

McCullagh began thinking seriously of this about nine 
years before his vision was fully realized. The small 
wooden structure which did duty as a church during the 
early years of the Mission was a poor mean little building, 
and he longed for something more worthy of the Lord and 
more suitable for public worship. He wrote home to a 
few friends in England, making his desire known to them. 
In response to this appeal about £200 was sent out, but, he 
tells us, that when he sat down to estimate the expense of 
building, he could only see his way to a very miniature 



96 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

church for this amount. The cost of freighting material 
along the coast and then up the seventy-five miles of river 
to Aiyansh would have equalled the value of the material 
itself ; thus half the funds in hand would disappear before 
any work on the spot could be commenced. Also this 
payment for outside labour would not benefit the Indians 
who formed the Christian community. This part of his 
scheme must not be overlooked. He wanted to teach 
them, and by his teaching to develop in them an ambition 
to learn and practise the arts of civilization. This would 
add to their material welfare, as being a distinct improve- 
ment on their hand-to-mouth way of getting a livelihood 
by hunting and fishing ; it would also qualify them 
for competing on more equal terms with the white men. 

" Somehow/' he wrote, " I grudged the expenditure of 
so much money for freighting " ; and then he went on to 
reason, " if this is all I can accomplish with £200, how on 
earth are the Indians to build themselves decent houses ? 
Here is the country teeming with timber, and yet we have 
to go 100 miles or more to buy lumber (' lumber ' is 
building material in Canada), and then pay as much again 
to bring it here. That will never do. Neither do I see 
any reason why log cabins should be the best structures 
of which we are to be capable in this district. Why not 
have a saw-mill of our own ? Thus the idea of a saw- 
mill came to me, and I thought it over day and night for a 
long time. From every point of view one thing was 
certain : whatever money was put into it could be re- 
covered in lumber on the spot, without the expense of 
freighting lumber for school, mission-house and church. 
Why, the realization of the mill would be the realization 
of everything else ! Yes, we must certainly have a saw- 
mill, if it be within the limits of possibility, and if I can 
have the Indians taught to run it. 

" I therefore added what I could afford to the £200 I had 
in hand for the church and bought the necessary machinery 
that same year, a mill to be driven by water-power. To 
bring this up the river safely was a great undertaking, but 
God was with us and we accomplished it without mishap. 



A FORWARD MOVEMENT 97 

Next spring, after considerable labour, we were compelled 
to abandon our attempt to dam a stream in the vicinity 
of the Mission, by which we had hoped to get a sufficient 
head of water for driving the wheel." And so the 
machinery was stored away until better conditions could 
be provided for its use. In 1891 McCullagh came home to 
England. It was his first furlough since he had gone out 
to British Columbia in 1885. The story he told of his 
work, at the Missionary Exhibition in Manchester and on 
platforms in other towns, excited something of a sensation 
among the people who were interested in the evangelization 
of the heathen. Friends rallied round him, so that he was 
able to return to his work in 1892 with another £200 to add 
to his nest-egg. He used this money to purchase a boiler 
and engine and went back full of energy and hope. His 
arrival is worth describing, if only to show how strong were 
the ties that bound him to the place and how greatly he 
was beloved by the Church he had nurtured from its 
infancy : 

" As we approached Aiyansh we noticed bits of bunting 
fluttering in front of the various fishing camps. ' What 
is the meaning of the flags, etc., in front of the fishing 
tents ? ' I inquired of Philip. * They are for you/ he 
replied ; ' they know you will arrive to-day.' Soon we 
came in sight of Aiyansh, bright with sunshine and 
fluttering banners, and were received with great rejoicing 
and warmth of feeling. And here we are again in our 
log-house, where for years we toiled and worked and 
endured the heat of summer and the cold of winter. It 
is like beginning again with a tenfold increase of the first 
love and singleness of aim. There seems to be no burden 
to bear now, no yoke to gall and fret one's spirit, and yet 
the circumstances and conditions are the same — the 
burden becomes light in bearing and the yoke easy in 
wearing. Abraham is looking quite young, and is almost 
too happy to live ; he has much to tell me, both good and 
bad news. I am glad we are back in time to behold once 
more the autumnal glories of forest, mountain and stream. 
The group of mountains facing our door I love passionately. 

G 



98 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

My spirit worships God on those mountains which speak 
so eloquently of His strength. Melita's joy at being here 
again is boundless. ' England is a lovely place, but this is 
Aiyansh.' " 

On Saturday, October 8, a party of eighteen stalwart 
young Indians were sent down to Naas Harbour to bring 
up the boiler and engine for the saw-mill, which had been 
shipped on a large scow (that is, a square barge with a flat 
bottom). To work this up the river was no easy task ; 
some of the Indians said it would take a whole month. 
The heathen, who had no sympathy for the scheme, 
sarcastically predicted failure. ' ' I confess, ' ' wrote McCul- 
lagh in his Journal, " I am in rather a nervous state 
about it ; but I have made it the subject of constant 
prayer, and my trust is in God whose glory I seek." 

On Saturday, October 15, he writes again : " Standing 
out on the river bank this evening I heard the sound of 
distant shouting. As the voices grew more distinct, we 
perceived them to be those of our Indians with the scow, 
containing the boiler and the engine. The whole village 
turned out to welcome them and give them a hearty 
cheer. ' Wonderful, wonderful/ exclaimed Abraham, 
' God is a hearer and answerer of prayer.' Many were the 
questions put to the sturdy voyagers. ' How did you 
get through such and such a place ? ' and the answer 
always came ' Gum wilt ltha am Shimoigiat Lakhage gau 
welum gel ' (' By the grace of God only we got through.') 
They had Divine service twice a day all this time and had 
to dry their clothes by the camp-fire every night. Hence- 
forth let no one say there is nothing in the Indian of any 
worth. ' Now,' cried Abraham, ' let the heathen hold 
their peace ; it is evident to the whole world that God is 
with us.' " 

Everything being now on the spot and ready for use, 
McCullagh engaged a skilled white man to come and erect 
the mill and then teach the Indians to run it. When they 
had learned to do this efficiently he handed the mill over to 
them on condition that they would produce, as it might be 
required, an equivalent value for the mill in lumber to be 



A FORWARD MOVEMENT 99 

used for the building of the school, mission-house and 
church. Paul Sgaden, formerly chief Muddywater of 
Gitlakdamiks, was appointed mill engineer. Then the 
real work began. In the neighbouring forest any amount 
of choice timber was waiting for the woodman's axe; 
but to obtain the most suitable trees for their purpose the 
Indians would go five or ten miles, sometimes even farther, 
into the mountains. In one place, fifteen miles away, 
the selected trees having been cut up into lengths, the 
logs were piloted down a neighbouring stream into a lake ; 
thence over two cataracts into the river, where they were 
lashed together in the form of rafts and floated down to 
Aiyansh ; were landed there and taken to the saw-mill. 
McCullagh's Journals about this period are full of inter- 
esting details of this, which may be called the material 
part of his work. It would be easy to enlarge here — indeed, 
it is hard to condense — but a ruthless compression of 
facts is necessary unless this chapter is to be extended 
beyond its due proportion in relation to a life which was 
always brimful of energy, sustained efforts and accom- 
plished facts. 

McCullagh very wisely felt his way, learning as he went 
on from one venture to another, acquiring a rudimentary 
knowledge as a craftsman of the art of building before he 
attempted his great feat in the science of architecture ; 
like the Alpine climber who masters the lower slopes and 
lesser peaks before he attacks the high and difficult 
mountain summits. 

" My first attempt at frame-building was the erection 
of a school-house, sufficiently large to be used for the time 
being as a church. I began by making a model of the 
framework according to scale, every beam, rafter and 
scantling being shewn in its place. Then we had the 
material cut to order at the mill, and forthwith the 
building was begun. On this we tried our prentice hand, 
gaining experience for more skilled effort later on. The 
school was completed before the autumn and was used for 
Divine service as well as for school purposes for four 
years while the building of our Church was in progress." 



ioo McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






Twice during the time the school was being built, the 
old mission-house caught fire ; the two incidents occurring 
within a few weeks of each other and practically destroying 
the building; many valuable letters and papers were 
burnt, and the contents of the dispensary rendered useless. 
This double misfortune afforded some compensation to its 
owner in the sequel. He was able to make the new 
building more commodious and much more comfortable, 
adding several rooms and a proper kitchen. 

" I also changed the frontage of the Mission premises, 
so that the house now stood with its back to the river, 
enclosed with an eight-foot hoarding all round. This 
seemed to sever its connection with the Indian shacks, and 
the people felt as if they were being left behind. Then 
Abraham made a dash for a corner lot on the new town 
site, and in his impetuous way pushed forward the 
building of a very comfortable house with three rooms and 
a kitchen. Then one after another the Indians picked out 
building lots on the new plan, and the place in a short time 
assumed the appearance of an anthill ; everybody hurry- 
ing hither and thither with boards, planks and scantling 
on their shoulders. Streets were cleared and levelled, and 
the old shacks pulled down and re-erected on the new 
lots, to provide temporary accommodation for the inhabit- 
ants while their new houses were being built. Such is the 
manner in which Indians move ; they are like an arch, 
and stand as solidly as an arch against all attempts to 
move them ; but, directly the keystone goes, in the shape 
of a leading man or two, they all follow like a flock of 
sheep. 

" Abraham could not endure having the back of my 
house alongside his frontage, so he made the first break, 
so as to secure a good position in the new front street. 
Then he was so pleased with himself and satisfied with the 
change he had made that he became immediately the 
apostle of the new movement. " 

By the time the school and mission-house were finished, 
this novice in the art of building had become sufficiently 



A FORWARD MOVEMENT 101 

expert in the higher branches of architecture to attempt 
his more ambitious scheme, the erection of a Church 
worthy of the name and capable of seating a large con- 
gregation. Although he knew, of course, that he alone 
possessed the brain-power for directing such an enter- 
prise, even to every detail of the work, he did that 
which men of less mental stature are often too vain and 
self-satisfied to do ; he was great enough and wise enough 
to take the Indians into his confidence and to consult 
with them about everything, and thus enlisted their enthu- 
siastic co-operation. Therefore he invited them to hold 
a series of " wau waus," or councils, to discuss the whole 
scheme. " The Indians, of course, did a large amount of 
talking, which consisted of a most wonderful display of 
idiocy and contrariness. I let every man talk himself 
empty, listening patiently and saying nothing." When 
they had all disagreed hopelessly among themselves over 
the site of the Church, the missionary laid his plan before 
them ; and finally what he proposed was unanimously 
accepted, and so " the wau wau terminated very satis- 
factorily." 
Another council was held to discuss ways and means : 
" For this occasion I had a number of small canvas 
bags made, one for each Indian (men and women alike), 
with the name of each person written thereon, and these 
were distributed with the request that, during the building 
of the Church, everybody would practise some sort of 
self-denial so as to save as much money as possible, and 
the money so saved, put into each bag, would be offered 
to God for this work on the day the Church was opened. 
" Our Indians are poor from a wage-earning point of 
view. They only handle cash once or twice a year, viz., 
after their spring hunt and after the close of the salmon 
season, when they are paid for their fish at the Canneries. 
And as a rule when they receive money they spend it at 
the cannery store (shop) in providing for their various 
needs and necessities. When I distributed the bags, there 
ensued an animated discussion, as to how a saving was to 
be effected in each individual case." 



102 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 



Moses Wan (the Shagaitkshiwan of the missing finge 
said, " Did our fathers have sugar in their tea ? No, an 
they got on very well without it. I am going to do with 
out sugar ; and I shall put into this bag all the money I 
would otherwise spend on sugar. I shall not taste sugar 
again till the Church is built." Then a woman stood up 
and cried out, " Of what use are these ornaments in my 
ears ? I will put them in my bag now." And into her 
bag went her gold earrings ; another woman did the same 
with her bracelets. 

" Simoigit " (master), said Chief Muddywater, " there are 
twenty dollars coming to me for working on the mission- 
house ; I want to put that into my bag to begin with. 
Let my body go without certain things I had thought 
of." 

Another chief stood up, and in a quiet dignified way 
said, " It is not yet evident to me in what way I can best 
economize, but I promise you all here now to have fifty 
dollars in my bag when it is offered." 

" Yes," exclaimed another chief, " I like that idea ; I 
bind myself also to fifty dollars ; it is a good thing to have 
a definite aim. I shall hunt and fish more diligently. 
Brothers, it has come into my heart while you have been 
speaking that I can take it out of my sleep and out of my 
sitting about." 

Before the building operations were commenced a 
special prayer-meeting was convened to ask for God's 
blessing on the undertaking, and soon the work was in 
full swing. " Day after day the hum of machinery and 
the rasping echo of the saw, as it bit its way through log 
after log, indicated continual progress, piles of building 
material — beams, rafters, scantling, joists, boards, planks, 
etc. — began to accumulate on the river bank." 

As the site fixed on for the Church was some distance 
from the river, it was necessary to lay down a trolley line 
between it and the river bank. McCullagh had frequently 
asked the men to make a road in preparation for this ; but 
they shirked the job, time after time. At last the women 
came to him and said : " Master, don't ask those lazy 



(i- 






A FORWARD MOVEMENT 103 

husbands of ours to make the road again ; if they don't do 
it before Monday next, we will arise and make it." And 
so indeed they did ; and the road was soon ready for the 
trolley ; a railway of the requisite gauge was laid on 
sleepers and firmly spiked. Chief Abraham took charge 
of this trolley, to which he harnessed a team of dogs ; and 
day by day as the logs came down the river and passed 
through the saw-mill, he hauled the lumber to the site of 
the Church. 

While the Church was being built, Bishop Ridley came 
that way, when touring through his diocese. In one of 
his letters home he thus described his visit : " Arriving at 
Aiyansh on the Naas River, after inspecting the Indians' 
steam saw-mill on the opposite shore two miles below, I 
climbed up the steep bank expecting to find Aiyansh as I 
last saw it, but it was nowhere to be found. I stood in 
speechless amazement. All things had become new. 
Instead of the narrow trail in front of a single row of huts, 
I saw fine broad roads with really beautiful cottages 
dotted about, set in the lovely autumnal foliage, each with 
a large garden separating house from house so widely 
that a fire in one could not damage its neighbours. 

" The little old mission-house, built by Mr. McCullagh 
himself, was quite lost amid the well-planned adjuncts. 
Within and without it is now a perfect model. I wish I 
had such a dwelling, and I see now why we must not covet 
our neighbour's house. 

" The house stands close to the river bank. Looking 
from it northward, the lofty mountains hedge in the inter- 
vening rich plain called Aiyansh, meaning ' evergreen ' ; 
before me stretched the long new road ending at the 
Church under construction. It has a deep, broad ditch 
on either side, from which the soil cast up makes a road- 
way that must be always dry. The trees, hewn into 
square sills, lie on the ground, ready for making the side- 
walk. It is the best piece of road-making in the diocese. 1 

" On the east side of the Church stands one of the 
prettiest school-houses I have seen. The interior arrange- 
1 This was the road made by the women. 



104 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

ments and exterior decorations of all these new buildings, 
private and public, expressed the ideas of a single mind . 
It is a model village, planned by an artist's eye and 
pleasing in every feature. It expresses the thought of a 
Christian, the civilization that springs from the resur- 
rection, apart from which in our day solid progress is 
impossible. Let those who deny it disprove it." 
In May, 1896, McCullagh wrote home : 
" We are getting on very well with the Church this 
year, though of course amid many difficulties. At present 
we are making cedar logs on a mountain about five miles 
away, and we have to bring them down by a small stream, 
five miles to the river. The stream is icy cold, coming as 
it does straight down from the glacier, and our men are in 
it up to their waists from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. I go to the 
scene of action every morning and return in the evening. 
Money could not pay for work like this (walking in the 
water all day), and it is not done for money but for love." 






CHAPTER XIII 

The Realization of a Splendid Dream 

M /^\H, the joy of building this sanctuary in the wild 
\J forest ! It filled us one and all with unspeakable 
happiness. Every morning we began our labours with 
prayer and praise, at noon we assembled for the same pur- 
pose, and again in the evening. How a willing mind and a 
heart glad in God can make material things fly ! We felt 
not our labours, there were no fatigues, no accidents, and 
no disappointments; all went smoothly as a running 
stream. For days at a time we were up to our armpits 
in the cold water of some mountain stream, removing 
obstructions and taking out logs, yet nobody caught cold 
and there were no complaints. On the contrary, the voice 
of joy and gladness resounded through the primeval forest, 
until it seemed as if the very trees clapped their hands for 
joy, and the mountains broke forth into singing ; and the 
joy that came to me then is with me still : 

The joy He gives is joy that lives, 
. Whate'er betide. 

" The foundation complete and the timbers for the frame 
ready, we held a Service for the setting up of the corner 
posts. These were hoisted up and lowered into their 
sockets to the singing of hymns and with prayer, and then 
as they were braced and plumbed, each chief having 
driven home his spike, they were declared well and truly 
set up. I can see them now, particularly Chief Abraham 
in a long white coat, choking with emotion as he offered 
prayer. Each chief in turn offered prayer after driving 
home his spike. We managed to complete the frame and 

105 



io6 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

roof in the chancel before the winter (1895-6), and during 
the winter we made more logs. 

" In May we resumed operations, the most difficult part 
of our task being the dressing and setting up of the large 
cedar cross-beams forming the interior of the roof. While 
these were being prepared below, Abraham kept moving 
about very dejectedly, saying, ' It can't be done ; they 
won't fit when set up ; we must cut and fit them in their 
places as we set them up.' At last they were all ready, 
and when the old chief saw them slip smoothly into their 
places he sat down on the scaffolding and, clapping his 
hands like a child, cried, ' Now let me die ; I have seen all 
there is to be seen in this world ! ' Besides directing the 
operations generally, I reserved the work on the chancel 
for myself alone, carving the two large cross-beams over 
the screen and otherwise attempting to beautify the 
interior. 

" When it came to building the spire, the older Indians 
begged me to desist. Somebody would surely be killed, 
and the house of God would incur reproach in consequence. 
But the thing seemed quite feasible, and with proper pre- 
caution and care there ought not to be any accident. So 
we determined to build it, and within six weeks the spire 
was completed — the only round spire in British Columbia 
— the height from the ground being 106 feet. But the 
only man I could depend on for outside work on the spire 
was Joseph T'Gak, whom years before I had cured of 
lunacy. This man would go anywhere and do anything 
on the spire just like a cat, and so they called him the 
' pussy-man ! ' " 

By the end of the summer the building was completed. 
The Church was dedicated to " The Holy Trinity," being 
so named in memory of McCullagh's connection in his 
early life with Holy Trinity Church, Cheltenham. 

The interior of the Church was finished with yellow 
balsam and red cedar ; the floor was of spruce pine. 
The chancel window consisted of three lights of coloured 
glass — the Good Shepherd in the centre, with emblematic 
designs of Holy Baptism on one side and of the Holy 




HOLY TRINITY CHURCH, AIYANSH. 



REALIZATION OF A SPLENDID DREAM 107 

Communion on the other. On each side of the nave 
were seven lights — fourteen in all — of Cathedral glass 
with a violet border ; there was besides a fine west window 
high up with three lights in one, and also a window in each 
transept. 

October 29, 1896, was the day fixed for the opening 
ceremony. 

The Bishop of Caledonia had arranged to come and 
dedicate the Ghurch, but unfortunately the steamer from 
Victoria to Metlakahtla was late in arriving. The service 
was delayed till 3 p.m., when it became evident that he 
could not be there. His instructions were that, should 
he be prevented from being in time, the service should 
commence without him. 

Christian Indians, with their missionaries, had assembled 
from all parts of the country, even as far away as the 
Skeena River, and a procession was formed at the Mission- 
house. Preceded by the massed bands of Kincolith and 
Lak-Kalzap, the procession marched to the Church, the 
choir and clergy being followed by the school-children, 
the Church Army and Red Cross contingents and the 
Aiyansh council of chiefs. The churchwardens were 
distinguished by orange-coloured sashes and wands of 
office. All the arrangements were evidently most care- 
fully thought out beforehand so as to make the ceremony 
an imposing one and worthy of so great an occasion. 
To the band accompaniment the choir sang " If the Cross 
we meekly bear," as the procession moved on. At the 
Church door the Rev. S. Osterhont read a portion of 
Scripture, offered prayer, addressed a few words to the 
assembled people, opened the door wide and declared the 
Church open for Divine Service in the name of the Triune 
Jehovah. A special form of service had been prepared 
for the occasion, copies of which were supplied to all those 
who were present. All this was done in the vernacular. 
Mr. McCullagh himself took the prayers ; the lessons were 
read by the late Archdeacon Collison of Kincolith, and a 
sermon, distinguished by earnestness and eloquence, was 
preached by the Rev. A. E. Price, C.M.S. Missionary 



io8 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

from Gitwingak on the Skeena River, who had come 150 
miles over the mountains to be there. Not the least 
interesting among those who took their official part in this 
unique service was the organist. " Twelve years before a 
shock-headed tatterdemalion boy, just arrived with his 
parents from the heathen, might be seen at Aiyansh run- 
ning after birds and rabbits with his bow and arrows. 
His attendance at school was erratic ; he was nighty and 
uncertain in all his ways ; until, getting hold of a Jew's 
harp from someone, he seemed to wake up to the fact that 
there was something worth learning. Presently we found 
him reproducing our hymn tunes upon a mouth-organ. 
From that as he grew older and earned a little money at the 
Canneries he proceeded to a kind of hurdy-gurdy which 
ground out tunes from slips of perforated paper. Mrs. 
McCullagh then took him in hand for music lessons, teach- 
ing him to play on the piano. Then, with a little help 
from us, he bought an American organ, on which he con- 
tinued his lessons and practice/' At the opening cere- 
mony he was able to take his place at the organ. He and 
the choir who were under his leadership acquitted them- 
selves with credit on the whole. 

" The last verse of the last Psalm ended in ' Hallelujah,' 
and the whole congregation came out with it like a mighty 
wave breaking on the shore. Then after a moment's 
impressive silence they, organ and all, burst forth with 
the Gloria. Many of the people praised God with the 
tears running down their tawny cheeks." 

McCullagh thus describes his own feelings on that 
memorable occasion : 

" It was nearly evening when the long-looked-for 
moment arrived. And at last when I stood up in the 
Church which not so long before existed only as a dream 
in my imagination, and looked around me at the beautiful 
sanctuary, and then at the happy eager faces of those 
whom years before I had known as hopeless, degraded 
heathens, I felt an uncontrollable desire to prostrate 
myself on the floor before God and weep. I could not find 
my voice to give out the hymn, and I stood before the 



REALIZATION OF A SPLENDID DREAM 109 

congregation for some minutes absolutely dumb. But 
that pause with its solemn hush was the most thrilling 
part of the service — we stood there waiting as it were for 
God Himself to come to us." 

" The previous estimate for the labourers' wages (i.e. 
beyond the value of the material supplied by the saw-mill 
company) during the summer months had been about 
600 dollars. Before the end of August, however, the 
wages account amounted to over 700 dollars, and I had 
to draw upon my faith ; before the end of September the 
wages account was up to 999 dollars ; by the 26th of 
October I was almost afraid to reckon, and found the wages 
thermometer up to 1,350 dollars. My faith began to 
tremble at the knees ; were we about to encounter shame 
and confusion of face on the day of opening instead of joy 
and gladness of heart ? Then the tempter whispered : 
' Your faith is absurd ; it is unreasonable ; how do you 
think God can bring 1,350 dollars out of your handful 
of poor people ? ' But, turning from the tempter, I cried 
in anguish of soul : ' O my God, Thou hast brought water 
-out of a stony rock ! ' and so I trusted, although the 
tempter said as a parting shot, ' Sheer presumption ! ' " 

Well ! the moment came for the offertory to be taken. 
McCullagh thus describes the event : " You can imagine 
somewhat of my mind and feelings as I handed young 
Mr. Collison the alms-dish at the Communion rails. It 
was the largest alms-dish I ever saw, being 2 feet in 
diameter and of solid brass. This large tray (for such it 
was) Mr. Collison bore down the aisle, while the church- 
wardens with alms-dishes of the usual size took up the 
offerings on either side, transferring the contents of their 
dishes to the larger one. Before they had got half way 
down the aisle Mr. Collison began to feel the weight 
of his burden, and had to hold himself well up to sustain 
it. Each person's offering was in a small canvas bag 
with the name and amount written on the outside. I, 
too, found when I came to receive the alms-dish from him 
at the rails that I must set my back stiffly to take it from 
him ; indeed I had to call Mr. Price to help me to lift it 



no McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






up and place it on the Holy Table. When the offertory 
was counted it was found to be 1,344 dollars 45 cents. 
Another ten dollars was afterwards added, making up the 
whole amount to 1 ,354 dollars 45 cents. With the exception 
of 81 dollars in loose cash on the plate given by outsiders, 
this noble sum was all contributed by the Indians of 
Aiyansh. 

" It may be thought, as indeed it has been said, that 
people who can help themselves like that do not need 
help from other sources. But that would be a judgment 
quite at variance with the facts of the case. I have no 
hesitation in saying that every 25-cent piece in the above 
collection represented a definite act of self-denial. It 
is always the effort to help one's self that appeals to me 
as being worthy of help. It was not out of their fullness 
that these Indians did so well, but rather out of their 
poverty. And nothing but the fact that God gave them 
a willing mind can account for it. It is a purely spiritual 
result, for I suppose that after all is said and done in the 
sphere of one's religious profession, the test of true reality 
lies in a willingness to offer liberally of one's substance to 
God." 

The dispersal of the general congregation was followed 
by a Celebration of the Holy Communion. 

"It was a soul-stirring sight to see the people coming up 
in streams, and devoutly kneeling to receive the tokens 
of our blessed Lord's Cross and Passion, who a few years 
ago were a people ' without hope and without Christ 
in a world of darkness, sin and death.' " 

Including two invalids who were carried to the Church 
and, being communicants, remained and received the 
Sacrament, there were eighty-eight communicants on that 
day. 

Here let us try to realize, if we can, the greatness of the 
work accomplished by McCullagh. It was thirteen years 
and one month only since he had first stepped from his 
canoe on to the bank of the river at Aiyansh, where some 
half-dozen families of Indians, in poverty and discomfort, 



REALIZATION OF A SPLENDID DREAM in 

were feeling their way out of darkness into light by the 
help of a native teacher, one of themselves. 

What a transformation had taken place during those 
years ! The Settlement had grown and prospered under 
the missionary's fostering care. The people were in all 
respects different from what they had been then. Out of 
the mire and clay of degradation and ignorance they had 
been uplifted and their feet firmly planted on the rock of a 
new life. Spiritually, morally, socially and materially 
they had advanced steadily until that day when they met 
to worship God in the Church their own hands had built, 
using Service-books of prayer and praise in their own 
language which some of their number had helped to print 
for this occasion. 

Nor should we fail to try and estimate rightly the 
greatness of this achievement on the material side as well 
as the spiritual. McCullagh was the architect of that 
beautiful Church ; the initial design and every subsequent 
detail had been planned by his brain and carried out under 
his direction. He had never been articled in the office of 
an architect or surveyor ; he had never served an appren- 
ticeship to the building trade ; all that he knew, so far as 
we have any means of ascertaining, had been learned by 
himself from books and the drawings contained in them. 
There was no expert near at hand to whom he could go for 
counsel when difficulties arose ; he had not even the 
adrantage of skilled labour at his command. He was 
entirely self-taught, and he had to teach the Indians how 
to carry out his plans. But he was as humble-minded as 
he was truly great ; his modesty forbade any parade of 
what he had accomplished. We who knew him well never 
heard a boastful sentence or a word of self-praise from his 
lips. So far from taking any credit to himself for what he 
had done he gave all the glory of his work to God, Who 
had enabled him to carry out the purpose of his life. The 
only reward he ever seemed to covet was the approval of his 
Divine Master and Saviour, whose Name and redeeming 
grace it was his greatest ambition and his highest joy to 
proclaim to the Nishga Indians on the Naas River. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Gathering in the Heathen 

IN the foregoing chapters we have seen how the Settle- 
ment of Aiyansh grew from a few cabins or wooden 
shacks into a village, well laid out with comfortable 
houses, a school and a beautiful Church with accommo- 
dation for four hundred worshippers. The governing 
principle of the Settlement was that any Indians who 
wished to forsake heathenism for Christianity should come 
out of their old life, join the Git aiyansh, 1 and with them be 
instructed by the missionary in the faith of Jesus and the 
practice of the Christian life. But here the question may 
naturally be asked : " How about the heathen who did 
not come out in this way from the customs and religion 
of their ancestors ? Many of them must have held back 
from pride, or unbelief, or indifference, or the want of moral 
courage strong enough for taking such a bold step. Under 
these circumstances were they left to themselves ? Was 
any effort made to win them over ? What was their 
attitude towards this new religion which had invaded their 
land and claimed the right to dethrone the established 
usages of their forefathers ? What was the line taken by 
the missionary towards them ? And how did the Chris- 
tian converts act towards their former co-religionists ? " 
It is the purpose of this and the following chapter to give 
an answer to such questions. The attitude of the Indians 
living in the heathen villages such as Gitlakdamiks was 
for the most part one of either open or veiled hostility. 
An instance of this occurred on the arrival of the boiler 
and engine which were brought up the river to work the 

1 i,e. Men of Aiyansh. 
112 



GATHERING IN THE HEATHEN 113 

saw-mill. In his diary for October 18, 1892, McCullagh 
wrote : 

94 The heathen are up in opposition to the mill. They 
say it will frighten away the salmon (a mere pretence), 
and deprive them of their food. They threaten to throw 
the boiler into the water. I replied, ' You are welcome to 
throw all the machinery into the river if you have enough 
money to pay for the damages afterwards/ If an Indian 
threatens to do anything, it does not do to oppose him, 
rather encourage him to do it, even if it be to take your 
life, and you immediately take all the wind out of his 
sails ; but you must not show the slightest ruffling of 
temper ; be perfectly calm and you will utterly cow 
him." 

On the following Saturday he wrote again : 

" We have not heard anything more about the des- 
truction of the mill from the heathen. They are ashamed 
of themselves, I hear, especially as some of them defend 
us. This morning I had a visit from Skaden their chief. 
It appears that his house was broken into the other day 
during his absence and some money stolen. He suspects 
a certain man of the crime and wishes me to investigate 
the case. ' My friend,' said I, ' you must settle your own 
difficulties among yourselves; but, as you are in trouble, I 
would certainly visit you and soothe your mind with the 
comforting words of God, if it were not for the law you 
have made forbidding the preaching of the Gospel among 
your tribe ; I always respect the laws of any people 
among whom I live.' 

" ' Yes, I am very much troubled about this robbery ; it 
dishonours me so. Now if it were a common man who was 
robbed I would not mind ; but for the people of other 
tribes to hear that Skaden has been robbed is more 
than I can bear; I have not slept for the last three 
nights.' 

" ' Certainly, I am sure you have not ; it is a most 
serious thing to be overtaken by a trouble like this/ 
I rejoined. 

M ' My nephew says that in troubles of this kind there 

H 






H4 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

is nothing so pacifying to the mind as religion, and 
that is the reason I have come to you, Shimoigiat' 

" ' Your nephew is quite right in his advice,' I replied, 
1 and the grace of God in the heart makes great trouble 
very small indeed, but it is not right to my mind that you 
should be comforted by religion outside the walls of your 
own house, especially as you are the chief of a large tribe.' 

" ' You are right, chief,' he answered, with tears in his 
eyes ; ' but perhaps you would not come into my house 
after all that we have said against the word of God.' 

" ' If you will ask me to come, I will stand within your 
house to-morrow at noon,' I replied. 

" ' If you would, if you would, so be it.' " 

The next day (Sunday), McCullagh gave notice at morn- 
ing service that he had received an invitation to preach 
the Gospel in Skaden's house at Gitlakdamiks at 12 
o'clock, and that he would be glad if some of the men would 
accompany him when the service was over. The aston- 
ishment of the Christians was great on hearing this 
announcement. Equally great was the surprise of the 
people in Gitlakdamiks when they saw the missionary and 
his band of followers pass through their village ; and 
greater still when they saw them enter the chief's house 
and presently heard the sound of hymns being sung there. 
A number of shock-headed individuals, enveloped in ash- 
coloured blankets and with a month's dirt on their faces, 
came gliding in and, squatting down by the fire, listened 
to the preaching of the Gospel. 

" Skaden sat listening freely for the first time in his 
life ; for, although he had often before been present at 
preaching he always made it a point to be doing some- 
thing, carving a rattle, a spoon, or plying his axe with a 
great noise, or something else to keep his attention with- 
drawn from the living word. 

" ' Do you wish me to come again next Sunday, 
Skaden ? ' I inquired on leaving. 

" ' If you would it would be well,' he replied. 

" And so the law has gone overboard in a way no one 
foresaw. 



GATHERING IN THE HEATHEN 115 

" ' How is this? ' inquired Abraham, on our return; 
■ not one of us would have thought it possible.' 

" ' There are a great many of God's people in England 
praying for the Gitlakdamiks,' I replied, ' which accounts 
for it ; we must write them a letter and ask them to keep 
on praying more earnestly for the repentance of the 
heathen here.' 

" ' God brings in His grace in a mysterious way,' 
remarked Abraham." 

The following Sunday a similar expedition was made. 

" To-day we again visited Chief Skaden and preached in 
his house. The chief was very gracious; his habitual 
scowl was gone from his face and he pressed my hand 
warmly in greeting. We hear there is great searching of 
heart among his tribe, because I have said I will not enter 
any house without an invitation, nor preach to any family 
without being requested to do so. My native Christians 
used their persuasive powers on me to induce me to enter 
a few other houses and preach to the people. 

" ' No,' I replied ; ' for years I have done so, and they 
looked askance at my message ; for the future, if they want 
to hear the Word of God they must ask for it ; the Gospel 
has gone up in preciousness.' 

" If I am right in my estimation of Indian character, 
this declaration will work in our favour." 

The subsequent history of Gitlakdamiks proved that 
he was right in this conclusion. He was also right to 
enlist the co-operation of the Christian Indians. This 
indeed was a part of their education in the laws of the 
kingdom of God, felt by themselves to be an integral part 
of their new religion. 



CHAPTER XV 

The Church Militant 

BEFORE endeavouring to show how the Christian 
Indians at Aiyansh acted towards their old tribes- 
men, and how the principle of missionary enterprise 
affected their conscience, let us pause and think of a 
common objection that is made against the conversion of 
the heathen. 

The argument with which we are familiar has been put 
in some such words as these : " God has allowed the 
various nations of mankind to adopt the form of religion 
that best satisfies their racial needs. What right have we 
to upset their faith and to impose on them an alien creed ? 
They are quite happy in the faith of their fathers ; let 
them remain so." 

Did the Christian converts of Aiyansh think after that 
manner ? 

They had seen both sides of the problem. They knew 
by early experience what it was to be brought up in 
heathenism ; they also knew by their conversion what 
Christianity meant. Had they been on the side of the 
objector to missions among the heathen, they would, no 
doubt, have said : 

" Let us leave the heathen alone ; for generations they 
have enjoyed their religious festival of the Potlatch, at 
which they impoverish themselves by getting gloriously 
drunk and by tearing up their blankets into such small 
pieces that they are no use to anyone. When illness 
falls on them they are accustomed to call in the medicine- 
man with his rattle to frighten away the evil spirit which 
is supposed to produce the disease. Or, if their children 

116 



THE CHURCH MILITANT 117 

are sick, the medicine man will take them to the river and 
pour cold water on them to cool the fever that burns in 
them. It certainly is true that when this was done during 
an epidemic of measles all the children died ; but then 
they have always been used to that kind of treatment as 
part of their religion. We ought not to disturb them 
when they cherish a faith in these things equal to the 
faith of the Christian in God as his Father and Saviour." 

This was not the way in which the men of Aiyansh 
reasoned. They knew by the bitterness of a past exper- 
ience the misery and the hopelessness of heathenism. 
Since their conversion they had learned by a new and 
sweet experience the joy of pardon for sin and of peace 
with God. They had found in the Lord Christ as their 
Saviour the secret of victory over temptation ; their 
whole lives were now illuminated with the bright and 
certain hope of a life hereafter through the power of a 
risen Saviour. They knew well that in these things 
heathenism, as compared with Christianity, was as darkness 
compared with light. And they were not content with 
merely knowing this ; they became possessed with a 
burning desire to carry to their heathen brethren the glad 
tidings of the new power which had entered and trans- 
formed their own lives. 

Between Aiyansh and the village of Gitlakdamiks 
the distance was only about two and a half miles ; but 
it lay for the most part through woods of fir trees and 
tangled scrub. It was a wretched trail, good enough for 
its purpose in olden days, but not so now. 

" Let the Gitaiyansh rise up and make a proper road 
connecting the two villages . ' ' This proposition was hailed 
with enthusiasm. Preparations began at once ; saws 
were sharpened, axes ground, picks and shovels furnished 
with new handles, ropes tested, spliced and strengthened 
for hauling logs. Arrangements were also made by the 
women for providing food for the workers. 

" On the following Monday while it was yet dark the 
bugle notes rang out clear and long, calling all the men 
of the village to breakfast and worship. With the first 



n8 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

streak of dawn they were at the road, from which they 
were recalled for dinner at noon. At n a.m. I went 
out to visit them, and truly it was an inspiriting sight that 
met my view. The trees and withered vegetation were 
all covered with rime sparkling in the morning sunlight. 
An avenue of about ioo yards long had already been 
opened through the thickly growing firs, and axes were 
swinging with a happy ring on the frosty air. Some of 
the boys were singing, some were exchanging their ideas 
with each other at a distance, their voices mingled with 
laughter. I was greeted with the words, ' We are un- 
usually happy, chief ' ; to which I gave them the idio- 
matic word of encouragement, ' Do well what you do, 
boys.' " 

The road was soon completed — a straight road and a 
level one on which ten men could walk abreast. The value 
of the labour voluntarily expended on this work was 
calculated at 480 dollars, that is nearly £100. McCullagh 
was naturally proud of his Indians for the splendid way in 
which they tackled a difficulty of this kind. " I do not 
wish," he wrote, " to praise the men ; but I do want my 
friends in England to understand that the grit and impetus 
necessary for this advance in civilization are not of the 
natural man ; the heathen Indians are devoid of it ; it is 
the energy which emanates from the ' new creature in 
Christ Jesus ; ' for that which is spiritual is not confined 
to thoughts, feelings and emotions. It is a poor spirit- 
uality with a bad circulation that does not go down to the 
finger-tips and find its way among the muscular fibres." 

Everything about the Mission began to assume an air of 
civilization after this road was made, as though God smiled 
His approval. It was named the Gospel Road, and played 
an important part in the development of the movement 
that followed for the evangelization of the heathen. At 
the end of the road farthest from Aiyansh, and about 
three-quarters of a mile from Gitlakdamiks, the Christian 
Indians erected a cross, which in the course of time 
became a rendezvous for the open-air preachers before 
proceeding to their work in the heathen village. The 



THE CHURCH MILITANT itg 

Christians would never pass by the Kazag (cross) with- 
out pausing to pray for the conversion of the heathen. 
The methods they adopted to accomplish this purpose, 
if somewhat erratic on the human side, displayed unmis- 
takably the wonderful way in which the Lord blesses 
even the humblest men and women when their hearts 
are right with Him and their one desire is to glorify His 
name. 

" One afternoon twelve large cases arrived by canoe. 
In one of these were the band instruments for the boys, 
and this they attacked like a pack of wolves. Very 
soon they were each possessed of an instrument, and 
then followed such a blaring and bellowing as was never 
before heard in this region. 

"Mrs. McCullagh exclaimed, ' Oh, Mac, why did you 
bring them those instruments ? They have turned the 
place into a bedlam/ 

* ' They were each and all blowing and puffing like dragons, 
with distended cheeks and starting eyeballs. Y' Giak had 
the big drum strapped round his neck and strutted about, 
pounding with all his might. Oh, it was a sight to see ! 
and I lost my appetite with laughter." 

But to the performers themselves it was all real. 
They soon learned to play a few hymn tunes, which 
they sang through the streets of the village. Then, 
having made their debut among their own people, one 
day they marched along the Gospel road and startled 
the people of Gitlakdamiks, just as in the early days of the 
Salvation Army the inhabitants of certain districts in 
our English towns were scandalized by the instrumental 
and vocal efforts of General Booth's followers to awaken 
souls dead in sin or respectability to the realities of things 
eternal. The heathen resented this raid on their Indian 
sense of dignity and propriety. The loud blare of the 
brazen instruments vibrated discordantly in their ears ; 
but the sound of the big drum as it was vigorously 
thumped by Y'Giak awakened still deeper feelings of 
indignation in their breasts. McCullagh had warned the 
Aiyansh evangelists against being too aggressive in their 



120 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

methods ; but their zeal outran his discretion. One of 
their inroads ended in something very like a free fight, 
with a special onslaught on the offending drum which, in 
a marvellous manner, survived the attack. A compromise 
was attempted by the Christians : " We will give up the 
drum," they said, " if you will give up your sins." This 
offer was scornfully declined. 

A truce followed, however, during which feeling still ran 
high, and Chief Skaden sulked and would not even listen 
to the missionary when he came to preach. Then a 
deputation was sent to Aiyansh to protest against open- 
air preaching at all at Gitlakdamiks. Chief Abraham 
met them in council with torrents of burning, indignant 
remonstrance ; he was very angry and said a few hare 
things. 

In the end an agreement was reached ; the Christian* 
consenting to give up the drum, on condition that the] 
were allowed to preach, and " then the heathen began t< 
listen to the preaching of the Gospel as they had neve 
listened before." 

Some weeks after the opposition had died down 
incident occurred which formed a delightful sequel to the 
previous misunderstanding. 

" As Christmas drew near I announced that I would 
celebrate the Holy Communion on the Sunday next 
before Christmas Day. In doing this I cautioned against 
attending any who entertained bitter feeling or ill-will 
against anyone or who were ' out ' with their neighbours, 
whether Christian or heathen. 

" When I made this announcement I had no one in 
particular before my mind ; I had quite forgotten Abra- 
ham's tiff with the heathen deputation, but merely sought 
to direct attention to what might be lying hid beneath the 
surface. It was with something of surprise, therefore, that 
I heard from Abraham and another man named Philip 
that they were ' weak-hearted ' because forbidden to 
attend Communion. 

" ' Forbidden to attend Communion ! What do you 
mean ? ' 



THE CHURCH MILITANT 121 

" ' What you said in Church, that no one was to attend 
who was ashamed to look his fellow-man in the face in 
love.' 

" ' Well, what about that ? — what has that to do with 
you? ' 

" ' Oh, a great deal. We are very much ashamed of 
the Gitlakdamiks chiefs and they of us, because we spoke 
angry words to their deputation/ 

" ' Of course, I had quite forgotten ; you are quite 
right ; you must put the matter straight ; you and 
Abraham are the trespassers ; the words of the heathen 
to you were respectful, but you received them disdainfully. 
Now you ought to apologize publicly.' 

"After a good deal of discussion it was decided that the 
heathen chiefs and principal men should be invited down 
to dinner by Abraham and Philip, and that after dinner 
these two should publicly apologize, and withdraw 
the offensive expressions used by them to the deputation/' 
On the appointed day, at the invitation of Chief Abraham 
and Philip, a public dinner was given at the house of the 
former. The principal men of Aiyansh were there, 
seven chiefs and seven leading men of the Gitlakdamiks 
tribe being invited to meet them. 

" After dinner a messenger came for me, asking me to be 
present at the speech-making, and to close the address 
with a few words and prayer. When I entered I found 
a seat prepared for me beside Abraham, which I took, 
and then, everything being ready, Abraham stood up to 
speak. 

" ' Friends, chiefs, wise men, brethren, all ; my heart is 
unusually gladdened to-day by the warmth of your 
presence in my house. The fact of your coming on my 
invitation without demur has touched me deeply, 
because I am conscious of having cherished bitter feelings 
and having used harsh words against you, not only 
recently, but on every slight occasion during the years 
that are past. But it is only lately that it has become 
evident to me that such things are offensive to God. 

" * Moreover, it is not seemly that I should be ashamed 



122 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

to accompany the Master's servant when he goes t< 
preach the Gospel to you, or that you should be ashamec 
to come here to see him because of me. 

" ' It is the way of men to err, because they frequently 
misapprehend, seeing only the outside of things or 
looking at them from behind. Now I repent before yoi 
all, friends, chiefs, wise men and brethren, for the mannei 
in which I misjudged you, and for the pungent language 
in which I condemned you. Let it all be thawed, wipec 
out, forgotten. Let nothing trouble your minds about 
the open-air preaching ; you did nothing, said nothing t( 
the boys. Even if you did do anything to them it h< 
been well done, which has increased our love to you 
grace/ 

" Such was Abraham's speech, delivered with no sm< 
dignity and feeling. I felt proud of my tawny old pupil. 
Though passionate and impetuous by nature, yet he di( 
his duty this time humbly, yet nobly, by grace, 
wondered what Philip would say, but he did not make 
speech, preferring to repeat Abraham's words : ' Shall 
add anything to or take anything from what you have 
just heard ? No ! Let my words be those of nr 
brother.' 

" Several of the heathen chiefs spoke, and spoke well, 
after which the missionary said a few words to them, 
prayed, and pronounced the Benediction. 

" After the blessing Skaden rose up grandly at the 
head of the table and, holding his blanket folded across his 
breast, stretched forth his right hand. ' Chief Abraham,' 
he said, ' I take in mine the hand you have held forth. 
It is the first time you have held it out to us except when 
clenched. I take it to hold in warm friendship and in 
peace.' 

" This brought the gathering to a close. There was a 
strange gleam of satisfaction in old Abraham's eye as he 
said to me on parting, ' Never was the grace of God so 
sweet before.' " 

During the following winter news reached Aiyansh from 
the interior, telling of much sickness and many deaths at 



THE CHURCH MILITANT 123 

Gitwin'lgol and also on the Skeena River. This moved 
the hearts of the Christians at Aiyansh and awakened in 
them a great desire to make an evangelistic tour among 
their brethren of the more distant tribes. On their 
expressing this wish to McCullagh, he readily consented. 
A brief narrative of the expedition is recorded in his diary : 

" January 9 (1894) . This morning a party of fifteen men 
and five women started off on this eight days' journey 
across country. Two youths carried the magic lantern 
and slides, etc., between them, and a supply of oil for 
working it. I had already taught them how to use it. 
The party had to carry all their provisions and bedding 
on their backs. They looked like business when they 
marched off through the snow-laden pines, their white flag 
with its red Maltese cross in the centre waving in front of 
them ! May God bless their effort to the souls of those 
who are sitting in darkness." 

On February 8, he wrote again : " Between 7 and 
8 o'clock this evening we assembled for a Bible-reading 
and prayer-meeting. It was a most solemn meeting, 
the subject being the proximate return of our Lord. I 
was just concluding my address by describing the blessed- 
ness of being found watching and waiting and working 
by Him when He comes, not to be taken by surprise when 
the angelic voices shall break upon our ear ! I had got 
thus far when, upon the frosty air, was borne crisp and 
clear the marching hymn of our brethren returning from 
their inland tour. How it rose and fell, swelled forth in 
volume and died away again in the distance ! After a 
few minutes' silence I continued : ' Our brethren have 
found us watching; may the Lord find us so, too.' This 
circumstance affected the little meeting very much ; 
they were heart-broken in a moment ! Poor things, no 
doubt their minds were suddenly overwhelmed with a 
sense of their many infirmities and negligences as 
they thought of the Master taking them to account. 
As the band of singers drew up in the village street 
we were one with them, standing in a circle, praising 
God. How inspiritingly the red ensign fluttered in the 



124 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

breeze while the little band of crusaders, with their heavy 
packs on their backs, staves and snow-shoes in their 
hands, threw back their heads and made the welkin 
ring with their triumph-song of praise ! They had 
brought back four captives ! But how thin they looked 
and weatherworn ! No wonder, indeed, for they were 
on short rations on their long return journey." , 

This was the way in which the Christian Indians of 
Aiyansh acted towards the heathen tribes by whom they 
were surrounded. Had they been acquainted with the 
objection (previously stated in this chapter) against the 
evangelization of the world, we may feel sure they would 
have met and overthrown it by the same practical and 
spiritual methods they adopted in winning their brethren 
to the faith and knowledge of their Lord, and they would 
probably have included the people who object to Christian 
missions among those whom they looked upon as " rene- 
gade white men." 






CHAPTER XVI 

Vengeance and Reconciliation 

CIVILIZATION, in its highest and truest sense, 
invariably follows the spread of Christianity. 
This is nowhere more apparent than in lands that were 
once heathen. It seems to follow, by a kind of moral 
law, as the diffusion of light follows the sunrise and 
chases darkness off the face of the earth. No one, 
possessing even a superficial knowledge of Christian 
missions, can help becoming aware of this. But the 
ignorance of most people about the nature and scope of 
the missionary's work is as deplorable as it is culpable. 
Even among ordinary Christians how few there are who 
seem to appreciate the debt of honour which the world 
owes to that splendid band of noble men and women 
who, while preaching Christ among the heathen, are at 
the same time uplifting them to the higher plane of 
civilizing habits and customs ! Little indeed do they 
who hold up the missionary to ridicule know how worthy 
he is of the highest honour and respect that can be paid 
him ; and this merely on social and moral grounds, to say 
nothing of spiritual reasons. The greatest — indeed, 
almost the only — pioneers of a lofty and beneficent civiliza- 
tion in heathen lands have been the missionaries of the 
Cross. The material welfare of those whom they have 
sought to instruct in spiritual truths has always fallen 
to their lot as a necessary part of the work they have 
undertaken. The name of David Livingstone naturally 
comes first into one's mind as a superb instance of those 
who have exemplified this moral fact. It is true that he 
ranks as a great explorer and discoverer. It is equally 

125 



126 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

true that the passion of his life was to stop the sla^ 
traffic ; and this passion was inspired and fed by the Iot 
of Christ which he, as a missionary, preached whereve 
he went. 

This same principle, to a greater or less degree, dis 
tinguishes all those who are sent forth into the darl 
places of the earth by the Church Missionary Society 
Although it is a fundamental tenet of this Society only te 
commission " spiritual men for spiritual work," it is als 
recognized that, hand in hand with this spiritual calling 
the missionary may and should exercise his nature 
gifts for uplifting, in every way possible, the people amon| 
whom he is sent to labour. 

McCullagh felt this very strongly, and frequently ex- 
pressed his convictions about it in the letters he sent home 
The spiritual regeneration of the Indians was always the 
goal he kept in view ; but the road thither had in place 
to be paved with the hard stones of common- sense 
things material. For instance, in a private letter ii 
1887, he wrote : 

" If the missionary fall into the mistake of regardii 
those who leave their heathen villages and come to the 
Mission for instruction as a pastor might regard his flocl 
in England, and from that point of view do his work, hi: 
mission will be a failure." 

He found himself continually up against customs an< 
usages which had in the course of many generations 
become an integral part of the very life of the people. 
During the latter half of his ministry at Aiyansh, as a 
legally-commissioned magistrate, he was able to enforce 
the law against wrong- doers and evil customs ; but 
during his first fifteen or twenty years among the Indians 
he took the law into his own hands many a time in dealing 
with unruly characters. In exercising his own masterful 
will he acted as a bold chieftain would, often risking his 
life, never afraid of adopting unconventional methods if 
need be, for the purpose of weaning the Indians from the 
mistakes and follies of their heathen ways and leading 
them to a better life. An instance of this occurred in 



VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION 127 

connection with a blood-feud between two Indians, which 
affords a fine illustration of this side of his character. 

One cold winter night, the thermometer being 15 
below zero, the village of Gitlakdamiks was heathenishly 
en fete, a potlatch being in full swing. From far and 
near hundreds of Indians had come, robed in their tribal 
regalia of paint and feathers. In the principal chief's 
house a piled-up fire of logs crackled and blazed on the 
central hearth, around which were seated the chiefs of 
Gitwingak, Gitwinksilqu and other neighbouring villages. 
Clouds of swansdown — the emblem of peace — were scat- 
tered over the assembled guests, pledging all to an under- 
stood vow of unity and good- will. After this ceremony 
the guests betook themselves to the various houses where 
hospitality had been provided. In one house a number of 
young men were trying their luck at a game of lahl, 
the gamblers squatting round a bark mat spread on the 
floor, upon which the wooden counters were shuffled 
and dealt out. A crowd of spectators, wrapped in their 
blankets, encircled the players. Among them was a Nishga 
chief named Hadagim-simoigit (which means " Bad 
Chief "). He had come there with the base purpose of 
avenging a blood-feud of long standing upon a young man 
who had come to the potlatch from a distant tribe. The 
swansdown was supposed to unite all upon whom it fell in 
a pact of peace : but what had the avenger of blood to do 
with peace ? Was he bound in honour by a wafted feather 
any more than in years to come a white man would feel 
himself bound by a scrap of paper ? 

Edging nearer to the players he found himself standing 
close behind a young man who appeared to be deeply 
absorbed in his game. Suddenly there was a flash of 
gleaming steel, a swift descending stroke, an awful 
groan. With a whoop of triumph the slayer rushed out 
into the darkness of the night and bounded to safety, 
whooping as he went. 

There was great excitement in the gambling saloon. 
Women who heard the death-cry came running from all 
quarters, The dead man was carried out, and the night was 



128 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

made hideous with lamentation and woe. The name of 
the slayer was soon known to all ; but, when the victim 
was examined, it was found that he had made a mistake ; 
he had killed the wrong man, one against whom he had no 
grievance. 

When Hadagim-simoigit learned what he had done, he 
pleaded the absence of malice aforethought and begged 
the family of his victim to allow him to perform Gouigiani. 
His request was granted by Shabaim-Neuk, a brother of 
the young man he had slain. 

To perform " gouigiani " Hadagim-simoigit had first to 
collect all the goods and chattels he possibly could ; and 
in due time he was able to invite Shabaim-Neuk to 
receive compensation for the loss of his brother. All the 
honourable men of the slayer's family went most humbly 
to the avenger and sat down in his wilp. A long time they 
sat in silence, and then one after the other presented their 
case, while the man to whom they addressed themselves 
sat scowling. Gruffly he asked for water to drink, and all 
jumped up to serve him. He remarked that the fire 
wanted renewing ; they all set about doing it. They 
were his slaves ; they performed his toilet for him, 
anointing him with red ochre and arraying him in his 
regalia. Then they supported him as he wended his way 
to the slayer's house. Shabaim-Neuk was placed in a seat 
of honour and Hadagim-simoigit made his humble 
"prayer."' A leading man of Shabaim-Neuk's retinue 
replied to the prayer, and then the " gouigiani " began. 
Shabaim-Neuk was assisted to his feet and a rattle placed 
in each hand. He looked bored, disgusted and sulky. 
Could Hadagim-simoigit make him smile ? Well, he would 
try. 

From a large cedar chest a bale of blankets was brought 
forth and counted, each blanket being laid at Shabaim- 
Neuk's feet — fifty blankets, all told ! He scorned to look 
at them. A dozen marten-skins were dangled before him 
and dropped upon the blankets. He merely glanced at 
them. Two large bear- traps were lugged out of the corner 
and thrown beside the blankets. There was a perceptible 






VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION 129 

flicker of the eyelids. Two guns were added, but they 
were old-fashioned and won no recognition. A trunk, 
with a new suit of white man's clothes in it, was opened ; 
the clothes were shaken out, and the avenger visibly 
appraised the suit out of the corner of his eye, giving the 
rattles in his hands a little shuffle. The sound of the 
rattle made Hadagim-simoigit smile, and he produced out 
of many wrappings a very fine double-barrelled shot-gun, 
quite new. 

The avenger was quite interested now ; his body 
swayed just a little and the rattles were faintly heard. 
More items were added, more blankets, more traps, a saw 
and an axe, with a corresponding increase in the motion 
of the rattles. A bag of money — fifty silver dollars — 
produced a shifting of Shabaim-Neuk's feet. Soon they 
would have him dancing ! 

Presently there was a commotion at the door, which was 
burst open, and a number of young men handed in a 
beautiful cedar canoe which took up the full length of the 
house. In this more goods were placed — two tanned elk 
skins, a large copper shield, a coil of rope, two cedar boxes 
of fish grease, a fishing net and a large pot. The avenger 
was moving his body freely now and the rattles were 
swishing. But he had not smiled yet. Now, how on 
earth could Hadagim-simoigit surprise him into smiling ? 

Repeating-rifles were known by report among the 
Indians, but up to this time nobody had seen one. So, 
when Hadagim-simoigit drew a " Springfield " from its 
leather case, opened the breech-block and exhibited the 
mechanism, every hunter present crowded to admire the 
weapon and the avenger actually smiled ! Not only did he 
smile but he danced artistically, while the tom-toms 
increased their tone and everybody clapped and applauded 
— the avenger was appeased, he had smiled ! 

Several years passed. The stain upon the honour of 
Shabaim-Neuk's family was supposed to have been 
wiped out by the " gouigiani." Then it began to be whis- 
pered that vengeance was secretly cherished and that the 
truce might be broken any day. Rumours were spread 

1 



i 3 o McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

about that Hadagim-simoigit was dabbling in the black 
art. He had long since taken his degree as a medicine-man. 
Witchcraft was believed in among the Indians as a 
fruitful source of illness, accidents and death. Whenever 
any of these things happened to any member of Shabaim- 
Neuk's family, credence was readily given to the sug- 
gestion that they were brought about by the evil eye of 
Hadagim-simoigit. A family council was held, whereby 
the " gouigiani " was repealed and Shabaim-Neuk was 
appointed avenger. He announced that on the twenty- 
third day after that date he would publicly execute the 
slayer of his brother. 

McCullagh knew him well as a friendly Indian and one 
who was well disposed towards Christianity. He had 
often gone to the Mission-house and had in turn frequently 
welcomed the missionary to his own wilp. Sometimes the 
two men had gone out together for the day on some 
exploring expedition. 

When McCullagh heard of the decision to exact ven- 
geance, he went to Shabaim-Neuk and endeavoured to 
dissuade him, pointing out the wickedness and folly of the 
deed he contemplated. All his efforts, however, failed to 
change the young chief's purpose. He then tried his hand 
on Hadagim-simoigit, striving to persuade each in turn to 
migrate to the coast or to some distant place inland so as 
to be away from the lure of the blood-feud. But each of 
them refused to do what he thought would be like showing 
the white feather. 

" At last the twenty-second day came to a close, and I 
made up my mind, as a last resort, to kidnap Hadagim- 
simoigit that night. His wilp stood close to the river- 
bank in the centre of the village, and a canoe could easily 
draw up there in the dark without being observed. So, 
having previously located the exact position of his sleeping- 
place in the house, six of my trusty Indians stealthily 
crept up the river in a canoe at two o'clock in the morning, 
and drew in beneath the bank where a small path led up 
to the wilp. It was all done without a sound. The door 
was cautiously opened, the sleeper's head wrapped up in a 



VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION 131 

blanket, his hands and feet bound with cords, and himself 
bodily borne out and deposited in the canoe, which 
silently moved off and drifted down the river to Aiyansh. 
Here we provided temporary hospitality for him in a 
potato pit, and let him kick his heels there at his leisure. 
Meanwhile, with the dawn, Shabaim-Neuk sanctified 
himself in the traditional waters of Lishimis (Naas River), 
anointed his body with sheep's fat and red ochre, 
carefully donned his regalia and sallied forth for the great 
event. Standing in front of Hadagim-simoigit's door, he 
called his name loudly, challenging him to come forth and 
look him in the face. But no painted figure, correspond- 
ingly attired, came forth to meet him. From house to 
house he went, repeating his challenge again and again. 
But all to no purpose — Hadagim-simoigit had vanished ! 
Even his wife knew nothing of his whereabouts. Had he 
run away ? Oh, no ; such a thing was morally impossible. 

" All day long Shabaim-Neuk's nerves were subjected to 
much tension, expecting his enemy to step out suddenly 
from some quarter and get the drop on him first ; so that 
when the shades of evening fell a natural reaction set in, 
on which I had secretly counted. When his friends were 
gathered into his wilp that evening for what was to have 
been the avenger's feast, he made a speech to the effect 
that, inasmuch as he had diligently sought his foe every- 
where, with matured intent to kill him, he had practically 
kept his word and there was consequently no shame now 
in acceding to the missionary's request to let bygones be 
bygones. In washing off his mishous (rouge) now he would 
divest himself also of all desire for revenge. What the 
missionary said was quite correct — the true light was now 
shining and the old deeds of darkness should be put away. 
Let there be peace. 

And all those there assembled cried with one voice: 
" Ahm, ahm ; let there be peace." 

But there was no peace for Hadagim-simoigit in the 
potato pit. When he was liberated and learned of all that 
had been done, he was furious. He raved and swore that 
he could only wipe out the shame and humiliation to which 



132 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

he had been subjected with the blood of Shabaim-Neuk. 
But after McCullagh and Chief Abraham had reasoned with 
him he cooled down and at length returned to his village 
and accepted the terms of the new peace." 

For some time after this occurrence Shabaim-Neuk 
oscillated between good resolutions and temptations to 
wrong-doing of one sort or another. His moral lapses 
were succeeded by periods of remorse and bitter self- 
accusation. The latter half of the seventh chapter of the 
Epistle to the Romans exactly described this poor Indian's 
spiritual state. The climax was reached one day when he 
returned home and found that his eldest boy had been 
drowned in the river owing to some neglect on the part 
of the lad's grandmother. When he saw the dead body 
of his child, in a fit of passion he struck his poor old mother 
across the face. This blow wounded her pride and love so 
cruelly that the old lady went into the forest and hanged 
herself on the branch of a tree ; and then the heart of 
Shabaim-Neuk wellnigh broke. In an agony of con- 
trition, with the tears of sincere repentance streaming down 
his face, he went to his friend McCullagh, and sat down in 
his room, crying out, " What a sinner I am ! Can God 
forgive me ? Will Jesus Christ receive such a miserable 
wretch ? " 

" You are not any more sinful now than you were 
before," replied McCullagh ; " only then you did not know 
it. But now temptation and trial have revealed it to you. 
You can see plainly that you need to be saved. You are 
the very man Jesus Christ came to save. He Himself 
said : ' I came not to call the good ones but the bad ones to 
repentance.' " 

" Net, net," he groaned, " la aluda laui gon" (" Yes, 
yes, it is all plain to me now"). 

" So Shabaim-Neuk repented and accepted the Lord 
Jesus Christ as his Saviour and lived a happy Christian 
life for many years at a mission on the coast, out of sight 
of the scene of his dark heathen life, his trials and tempta- 
tions. He trusted in God that He would deliver him from 



VENGEANCE AND RECONCILIATION 133 

sin in this life and receive him into the place prepared 
for him hereafter ; and when it came to crossing ' the 
great divide ' he was not disappointed of his hope." 

And what about Hadagim-simoigit ? He never did 
much to merit any other name than the one he had always 
deserved — ("the Bad Chief"). When McCullagh was 
preaching in his village (Gitlakdamiks) he used to hide in a 
cellar excavated beneath the floor of his house. Then the 
missionary took to going there on Sundays and preaching 
to his wife and children with an extra loud word now and 
then intended for the ears of the husband and father 
skulking under the floor beneath their feet ; so he could 
not altogether evade hearing the Gospel. One Sunday 
he did not go below as usual but sat among his family 
above ground on a heap of furs and dirty blankets, with his 
eyes closed. 

" After holding a short service, we were about to leave, 
when he asked us to stop a moment and hear what he had 
to say : — ' Chief McCullagh, no man ignores the fact ; 
it is so, indeed it is rather so, that if there be peace to-day 
up and down this village it is owing to your presence among 
us. We are a hard lot (sic) ; we are like an undressed 
skin, the perfection of hardness. But, by dint of scraping 
and rubbing, our women soften the hardest skins and make 
moccasins of them, soft and easy to wear. And so it is 
with us and you ; you have been rubbing and scraping 
us with the Malashqu (Gospel) for many years, and I think 
we are beginning to feel it ; I think we are getting softer. 
Therefore, do well what you do, chief ; keep on scraping 
us and you will make moccasins of us yet for the Chief on 
High. My say is finished/ 

" We were not a little astonished at this unlooked-for 
testimony of Hadagim-simoigit to the power of the 
Gospel." 



CHAPTER XVII 

Through Deep Waters 

THOSE who knew McCullagh intimately, staying in the 
same house with him or entertaining him as their 
guest, will always think of him as a man of sunny disposi- 
tion, remarkable for his buoyancy of spirits, bubbling over 
with fun and humour, irradiating the happy quality of an 
unfailing cheerfulness at all times and under all circum- 
stances. This was not cultivated ; it was transparently 
natural. Such a constitutional temperament must have 
been of much value to him in the kind of work he had to 
do, and in the face of the hardships and difficulties by which 
he was so often confronted. He possessed courage of that 
high order which made him not only fearless in the presence 
of danger but eager to tackle hard problems, never afraid 
to undertake difficulties, often glorying in them because of 
a superlative optimism allied to his strong faith in the 
presence, the guidance and the love of God as his Father, 
Saviour and Friend. 

But there was another side to the shield, a side which 
was seldom exposed to view. At times he was subject to 
fits of depression. It was not hard work that he minded. 
" Sixteen hours per diem are not sufficient for me to do all 
I want to do ; but I love it so that I feel like a child play- 
ing all day. My only drawback is in not being able to 
write as many letters as I would like to send to all my 
friends." 

Yet again he says : " People ask me, ' Do you ever feel 
weary in it all ? does it ever seem a burden ? ' 

" Sometimes there does not seem to be a smile left in me, 
and the work seems to press so heavily. But then I remem- 

\ 134 



THROUGH DEEP WATERS 135 

ber that it is part of the work and cross of Christ — His, 
rather than mine. At best I am only lending Him a hand, 
helping Him with His cross (O blessed privilege !), helping 
to roll away the stone from the sepulchre wherein the 
Nishgas lie dead in trespasses and sins, that He may call 
them forth into the light of everlasting life." 

When writing a description of the Red man's character 
and of those innate qualities in him which made his 
salvation a problem requiring understanding, patience 
and sympathy on the missionary's part, he adds : 

" I may say here, in passing, that it is not an easy thing 
to stand by this problem. It would be so much more to 
our interest to seek another sphere. But how any man, 
chosen to be a servant of the Lord, can place in the balance 
his own interests and preferences, likes and dislikes, and 
weigh them against the difficulties and trials involved in 
the service allotted to him, is quite beyond my comprehen- 
sion. Of course there is the Lord's own manifest guidance ; 
but it does not always lead one in the line of least resist- 
ance. ' If any man draw back, My soul shall have no 
pleasure in him.' There is such a thing as backdrawing as 
well as backsliding, and it is so easy to draw back. I 
would say then, ' Brethren, pray for us,' that we may be 
enabled to stand by this work faithfully during the Lord's 
pleasure." 

And once more he closes a long letter, to his friend Mr. 
C. B. Robinson, in these words : 

" Ah ! dear brother, I envy you sometimes. Life is a 
haven of peace for you ; for me it seems to be war with 
the powers of darkness all the time. No sooner am I 
through with one fight than another is on, and so it goes. 
Well, the Lord reigns, at any rate, and that's enough for 
me. 'The Lord is King, be the people never so impatient/ " 

In these extracts from his letters home we can see how 
he bore the lesser evils of life, the minor trials of his faith, 
incidental in their way, forming as they did the necessary 
complement of the success and progress of his work and 
spiritual welfare. But they were of no account in com- 
parison with the great sorrow that broke him down 



136 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

completely in December, 1900, when his wife died. She 
was one of those quiet retiring natures that shone with 
a very subdued light beside the brilliant gifts and intense 
fervour of the man for whose sake she had given up the 
comforts of an English home with her own people. The 
monotony of her life may be gauged from the fact men- 
tioned in one of her husband's journals that at one time 
" for four years she did not see the face of a white sister of 
any degree or class." 

Their daughter Melita (now Mrs. Priestley) writes thus 
the old days when she was a child : 

" I remember my mother teaching the girls to read an 
write, and trying to keep me interested in a doll or a boo 
in the schoolroom too, so that she could teach them an 
keep an eye on me at the same time. Also I well rememb 
her, when the bales of warm clothing came from Englan 
for the Indians, making up and addressing bundles of warm 
gifts for the poor, the sick and the widows, and then get- 
ting two Indian lads and sending them from house to house 
with the presents. The Indians dearly loved my mother, 
and have never forgotten her. When anyone was sick and 
father was away she would see to them, sometimes being 
called up in the night to go to them ; also she made soup 
and jellies for them when they were ill. My mother taught 
me everything ; being an only child she could not bear to 
part with me. At the age of thirteen I played the organ 
at the Church Service for the first time, thanks to my 
mother's patient teaching, singing all the hymns and 
chants in the Indian language." 

In 1893 a White Cross Association was established for 
women only. It grew to a membership of more than 
twenty. This was Mrs. McCullagh's work. She organized 
these Christian women into a union for nursing the sick. 
When the new Church was being built she gathered together 
a number of Indian women to form a working-party ; the 
moccasins, beadwork and knitted socks thus made during 
the course of three years were sold, realizing about 360 
dollars, which were given to the Church fund. 

The illness which resulted in her death was caused by 



te 
h 



THROUGH DEEP WATERS 137 

eating a bad tin of salmon. Melita had a narrow escape, 
being at the outset more seriously ill than her mother ; 
but her system was more amenable to the remedies 
employed ; and the missionary himself nearly died from 
the same cause. Mrs. McCullagh was not in good health at 
the time, and her powers of resistance were small. The ill- 
ness assumed a typhoidal character with dysentery and 
delirium, ending in her death on December 18, 1900. 
There was at the time no doctor on the Naas, and a messen- 
ger was dispatched to the Methodist Medical Missionary at 
Fort Simpson. He did his best to reach Aiyansh in time ; 
but he got no nearer than Kincolith when the sad tidings 
met him that all was over. 

McCullagh had not been quite alone, however. A few 
days before his wife's death a son of Archdeacon Sargent, 
who was on his way to Hazelton, called at Aiyansh and, 
seeing how great the need was, stayed until the end. His 
presence and quiet sympathy were a source of strength and 
comfort when McCullagh was passing through the fiery 
furnace of intense anxiety and sorrow. 

Later on McCullagh wrote : " I did everything I could 
for her with the means at my disposal, and was able in 
some measure, I think, to mitigate her sufferings. During 
the last twelve days I got only about eight hours' sleep, as 
she needed constant attention. She seemed to know when 
I knelt by her side, with her hands taken in mine, while I 
entreated God to spare her ; for on one occasion she passed 
her hands lovingly over my head. I realized fully the 
dangers incident to the disease, and used disinfectants 
freely, taking every precaution. Melita and an Indian 
woman had their full share of work, but I did all the nurs- 
ing myself. About an hour and a half before the end she 
fell into a sweet sleep, breathing freely and enjoying 
apparent freedom from pain, and in this sleep she passed 
peacefully away. She did not die, but rather fell on sleep. 

" The Indians were inconsolable and made great lamenta- 
tions. They asked to be allowed to bury her themselves, 
and I consented. And so they made the coffin very beauti- 
fully and lined it with zinc ; they also made an outer shell 



138 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

— waterproof and hermetically closed — as though they 
would fain keep off all corruptive agencies from the dear 
body. It was a revelation to me to see with what delicacy 
and tenderness they did everything, and how those proud 
chiefs, be-painted and feathered only a few years ago, 
meekly knelt around the newly-made grave and wrought 
upon it in white shells from the sea-shore the emblem of the 
Cross, and how the tears coursed down their cheeks, and 
they thought it no shame. 

" I never thought that the quiet, unobtrusive life and 
work of the dear patient worker had made such a deep 
impression on the callous Indian, and there by the side of 
her grave I silently gave God thanks for her and her good 
example. Thus closed the chapter of a quiet, meek and 
lowly life, diffidently consecrated to Christ and His service. 
She ever felt her little all was very little indeed, but she was 
faithful in that little ; she was not little in her faithfulness 
and devotion ; she was great. 

" The same evening after the funeral, I was down myself 
with that awful typhoid. The Archdeacon was fortu- 
nately at hand, and he proposed that I should be taken 
down to Kincolith, but I would not hear of it for several 
days. Then, as I felt everything slipping away from me, 
I let them do what they wished, only stipulating that 
when all was over I should be brought back again and 
buried beside my wife. The disease, however, ran a low 
course, with only a short period of delirium and one relapse. 
Mrs. Collison was a trained nurse and looked after me well. 
Humanly speaking, I believe I owe my recovery to being 
in an upstairs room overlooking the sea." 

McCullagh was a long time in regaining his strength and 
suffered greatly from the after effects of the disease ; some- 
times feeling as though he could willingly have lain down 
and died. 

" Try how I will I cannot readjust the focus of my life ; 
I cannot bear to think of resuming my work. I feel like a 
derailed locomotive ; how I am to get on the lines again 
I cannot tell." 

He found his daughter Melita a great comfort to him ; 



THROUGH DEEP WATERS 139 

but his unselfish nature made her also the cause of much 
anxiety. He felt he ought not to take her back to an 
isolated place like Aiyansh, and yet he dreaded going back 
alone to the empty house. So an arrangement was made 
that he should go for three months to Esquimalt Harbour 
near Victoria, at the southern end of Vancouver Island — 
to act as locum tenens for the Rector of Esquimalt, who was 
also Chaplain to the Forces there. This would be a bene- 
ficial change, giving him a new kind of work. It was also 
arranged that his daughter should go to school for a time, 
spending her holidays between Aiyansh and the home of 
Archdeacon and Mrs. Collison at Kincolith. 

After a time McCullagh felt able to go back to Aiyansh 
and take up his work again. The burden at first pressed 
sorely upon him, and indeed continued to do so for many 
months ; but in September, 1902, he was able to write : 

" Within the last two months I have become almost if 
not altogether my old self : nay, more than that, I believe 
I am now in better health than I have been for fifteen 
years. About twenty-five years ago I had a very severe 
attack of enteric, which not only left considerable intestinal 
debility, but also some physical obstruction, and this had 
been evidently increasing for the past fifteen years, until it 
had almost worn me out with languor and general decay. 
Now it seems that the last attack of typhoid has carried 
away the legacy of the former attack, leaving me as I was 
as a young man. . . . After the Conference held last May 
at Alert Bay I went to consult a doctor in Victoria ; he 
put the final touch on my recovery. Since my return to 
Aiyansh I have put on twenty pounds in weight. Isn't 
that a good account of the great goodness of God ? It is 
so much more than I expected or thought possible. I 
believe God has spared me to go on with this work, that 
He approves of the lines on which I have been trying to 
carry it on, and that He will so prosper and bless it that a 
remnant of this people shall be established to glorify His 
name. It seems to me the strangest, sweetest thing in the 
world to be in good health. When I look back, on the last 
nine years especially, I cannot conceive how I managed to 



140 



McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 



keep pegging away so well, and I alone know how I had 
dig the spurs in to make the old nag ' get up.' I need 
spurring now, but rather holding in. May God strengthei 
sanctify and enable me to do all with a single eye to Hi 
glory." 



CHAPTER XVIII 

The Salvage of a Derelict Mission 

FORTY-SIX miles below Aiyansh on the Naas River is 
situated one of the most ancient Nishga villages, 
known to the Indians as Lak-Kalzap. About the year 
1874 the Methodist Church of Canada established a Mission 
here. The work was commenced by the Rev. A. E. Green, 
by whose untiring industry and ability the Mission flour- 
ished till 1888, when he left for another sphere of labour. 
The place was then named Greenville after him. He was 
followed by a succession of missionaries, some of them 
being excellent and devoted men who did a splendid work ; 
others attempting great things, yet failing through lack of 
understanding the nature and character of the Indians. 
The result was that the adherents of the Mission became 
seriously disaffected towards the Methodist Church, the 
process of disintegration steadily increasing. 

In 1902 a young minister, utterly inexperienced in Indian 
work, was placed in charge. He only remained one winter ; 
the next two years were blank, and the relations between 
the Indians and the Church of which they were members 
became very strained. The Lak-Kalzap converts were 
made to bear the odium of all this, acquiring such a bad 
name that it was said that no missionary could do any- 
thing at that place. 

In October, 1904, McCullagh wrote to a friend in 
England : " I take a special interest in this Mission, because 
the majority of the Christians here are, in reality, my own 
converts, that is to say, they are converts from the Gitlak- 
damiks tribe among whom my work lies; but, on embracing 
Christianity, instead of settling at Aiyansh, they sought to 

111 



142 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

get as far away as possible from their old heathen habitat, 
and so came down to settle at Lak-Kalzap." 

On several occasions deputations from the tribe waited 
upon Archdeacon Collison at Kincolith (a few miles farther 
down the river), begging that their people might be received 
into the Church of England. McCullagh was petitioned in 
like manner ; but in both cases they were always sent 
away with the same reply — " Impossible." Neither of 
these two men ever had a thought of annexing the Mission ; 
such an idea was repugnant to them both, and they always 
sided with the Methodists against the people whom they 
looked upon as recalcitrant and unmanageable. The 
sequel proved to be a strange and wonderful instance of 
the ways and workings of divine Providence, quite unlike 
anything else in the annals of missionary enterprise. 
Unfortunately, the recital does not reflect credit on the 
Methodist Church of Canada ; but it must be regretfully 
recorded if justice is to be done to the memory of McCul- 
lagh, who, without any intention or desire on his part, was 
the human instrument whereby the turbulent spirits of 
Lak-Kalzap became happy and loyal members of the 
Church of England. The story is best told in his own 
words as related in the annual letter he wrote in January, 
1905, for private circulation among his friends and co- 
workers at home. 

" On the 10 th of October last I was on my way up to 
Aiyansh with a freighting of supplies for the winter and, 
reaching Lak-Kalzap about 10 p.m., I put in there for the 
night. Even at that late hour many people came asking 
for medicine, and upon inquiry I found that nearly all the 
children were down with severe autumnal fever and colds, 
complicated by bleeding from the nose and ears and con- 
siderable constitutional disturbances. The following day 
I delayed my departure at the request of the people that 
each little sufferer might receive an adequate share of 
attention. Further, I was also compelled to remain till 
the next day in order to ' weigh off ' a lot of drunken 
brawlers who had made the previous night hideous. Then 
again later, the people suggested that I should send on my 



THE SALVAGE OF A DERELICT MISSION 143 

canoes and stand by the children until they were better, 
when they would find a canoe and men to take me up at 
their expense. I did not consent to this at once, as there 
were many reasons for my getting back as soon as possible, 
and many things remained to be done before the snow fell ; 
but when I thought of the poor helpless children, and 
remembered that seven of them at least seriously required 
experienced attention for two weeks to come, I gave in and 
sent on my canoes. Then I called several of the principal 
men together and said to them, ' Now, I have agreed to 
stay for at least two weeks for the sake of the children, and 
I want you to promise me two things, that you will not 
trouble me with your Mission difficulties or your land 
grievances.' They promised. 

" 'Now that's all right,' thought I, foolishly imagining, 
like the ostrich, that I had put away the whole body of 
the difficulty by sticking its beak in the sand ! 

" But I soon found out that the old proverb is still true — 
' in fleeing from a difficulty we pursue it.' I already under- 
stood, of course, that the people here were very much dis- 
affected, but supposed that the feeling did not go beyond 
resentment against their Church. Great was my conster- 
nation, therefore, as I went in and out amongst them, to 
find that the profession of Christianity had been almost 
entirely thrown off ! There was no longer an observance 
of the Sabbath ; there were no religious services and no 
means of grace. Every face wore an expression of 
heathen vacuity and sullen indifference. But this indif- 
ference was not merely passive, it was fast becoming an 
active principle of evil, for the whole community, with 
the exception of the sick, attended all the heathen dances, 
halaids, wine feasts and blanket tearings ! Four times did 
this happen during my stay ! 

" My first thought was one of astonishment that, the lead- 
ing Methodist Mission on the coast being so near as Port 
Simpson, this Lak-Kalzap station had not been periodically 
visited from that place. And here the people were almost 
right back into heathenism, and it seemed nobody's busi- 
ness to know, and nobody's business to care. 



i 4 4 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

u ' What/ thought I, ' if this community of nearly t\ 
hundred disaffected and disheartened Christians, neglect* 
by the Methodists and rejected by our Church of Englan< 
lapse into heathenism, shall not we, equally with the 
Methodists, be held responsible ? And how would the lapse 
of this Mission affect our own Missions on the Naas — Kin- 
eolith and Aiyansh ? Would it not give a new lease of life 
to heathenism and so set back our work for two generations 
to come ? ' Still, though I thought like this, the idea of 
taking over the Mission never once seriously entered my 
head. On the contrary, I made an effort to pull the Metho- 
dist organization together. There was not time enough to 
communicate with the Methodist leaders ; something must 
be done, and that immediately. I tried to haul the local 
preachers out of their holes ; I tried to put the Epworth 
Leaguers on their feet ; I tried to get the stewards to look 
after the Church ; but nobody could be found ' in good 
standing/ and everyone was sullen and ' ugly ' and anti- 
Methodist ! 

" The leading chiefs were all down, some through liquor 
and others through heathen 'nostalgia.' I found that 
every man's defection was cut and dried ; that all eyes were 
turned to the other — the heathen — side of the river ; that 
Ulala regalia and naknogs and things of that kind were 
being laid up in store ; that everything, in fact, was ready 
awaiting the arrival of the psychological moment for the 
devil to start the whole place off into an outburst of 
heathenism. 

' As far as I have been able to ascertain since, all this was 
a premeditated thing, deliberately conceived as an offset to 
the Methodist neglect of the Mission and our refusal to 
have anything to do with it. Just as the Chinaman tries 
to get even with his enemy by committing suicide upon the 
steps of his enemy's house, so these people intended to 
commit spiritual suicide at our doors to put us to shame. 
Meanwhile the psychological moment was drawing nearer, 
and nobody knew it but God Himself." 

During the previous summer months a chief named 
Arthur Calder and another young Indian called Moses 



THE SALVAGE OF A DERELICT MISSION 145 

McKay had been working at Vancouver. Whilst there, 
they had endeavoured to obtain from the leaders of the 
Methodist Church the promise of another missionary ; but 
their efforts had failed. They came away from these inter- 
views in a disheartened spirit, and returned to Lak-Kalzap 
on the 16th of October. "■ Their hearts," they said, " had 
been made angry," and the report they gave of the ill- 
success of their efforts seemed to increase the feeling of 
bitterness which McCullagh had found already to be so 
intense. 

" And this was the moment for which God had brought 
me down from Aiyansh, unexpectedly ; this was the 
moment for which the bad weather kept me at Kincolith 
so much longer than I intended to stay ; this was the 
reason why we were so delayed on the 10th of October, 
that we could not pass by Lak-Kalzap without calling in. 
And here I was, placed by God's own hand between this 
people and the abyss of heathen despair. The flash of 
enlightenment took away my breath. I saw it all as in a 
vision, and bowed my head and worshipped. 

" The following day a general meeting was held at which 
every adult member of the Lak-Kalzap Band (a community 
of Indians on one reserve is called a Band) voted for with- 
drawal from the Methodist Church, and the Council for- 
warded a copy of the resolution to the superintendent of 
their Mission. They also notified the public through the 
Colonist newspaper and issued a notice to the effect that, 
thirty days after date, they intended making formal 
application to be received into the Church of England. 

" Here then was a thing — the last thing in the world I 
would have undertaken to do of my own mind — absolutely 
laid upon me by the inexorable law of necessity. I had 
no choice ; we, the Indians and myself, were face to face 
in a very tight place. I had no ' backing/ no guarantee 
that my action would be sustained or this added burden 
provided for ; never was I weaker or more destitute of all 
that makes a man strong in this world ; but I had seen the 
guiding Hand and putting my trust in God, I replied to 
the deputation of chiefs who waited upon me that, as God 

K 



146 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

had laid the burden upon me, I would shoulder it in His 
name and do my best for Lak-Kalzap. 

" I sent for Archdeacon Collison, and he at once came up 
to me from Kincolith. We talked the whole matter over, 
and in the end it was arranged that the Lak-Kalzap people 
should be received into the Church of England on the First 
Sunday in Advent, a month later. I then went on to 
Aiyansh, having had the joy of seeing all the children 
restored to health. 

" On the 25th of November we returned to Lak-Kalzap, 
with the intention of wintering there. As we approached 
the village in our canoe at about 7 p.m., our crew boys 
began to sing a hymn, and immediately in the distance 
ahead we saw the light of many lanterns flashing to and 
fro ; a bugle sounded clear and shrill ; an alarm bell went 
ding-ding, ding-ding. Lights sprang out of the darkness 
in all directions ; strings of Chinese and Japanese lanterns 
— all home-made — ran up every flag-pole. We got nearer 
and nearer to the landing-place : up goes a rocket, and a 
shower of varicoloured light falls, and flaring torches of 
coloured fires make the crowd lining the landing-stage look 
rather Stygian, and I stepped on to the wharf amid an 
explosion of Chinese crackers. In a moment every head 
was bared and, notwithstanding the spluttering of the 
dying fireworks, we raised our voices in prayer and praise. 

" Three days after my arrival I received all the people 
individually into the Church of England, and again three 
days later, St. Andrew's Day — the very day our new 
Bishop was being consecrated — the people began to turn 
their town-hall into a temporary Church, which has been 
named St. Andrew's Church. About this time a delegate 
came along from the Methodist Missionary Society to see 
what was the matter. I was laid up with a bad cold when 
this gentleman arrived, and his first question on coming in 
to see me was : 

" Well, Mr. McCullagh, what evil have you been inflict- 
ing on these poor people that they are so changed ? " 

" (Nobody in the town had a welcome for him, which was 
the change he alluded to.) To this I replied : 



THE SALVAGE OF A DERELICT MISSION 147 

" ' I am hardly the person, Mr. to supply you with 

information as to the evil which has been inflicted on these 
poor people ; that is a question you should put to your 
own Missionary Board.' 

" We opened our temporary Church, and set on foot our 
new parish organizations, two readers, two churchwardens, 
two caretakers and a sexton ; Church Army with captain 
and lieutenants ; a guild of elders ; a choir and choir- 
master and an organist, Melita holding this appointment (!) 
pro tern. 

" Everything is now prospering with us at this place, 
spiritually and morally ; instead of lapsing Christians we 
have conversions from the heathen ; but the village is in a 
poor condition from a sanitary and material point of view. 
A new town site has, however, been laid out — lines cut, 
streets laid out, and lots defined. The old huddled line 
of buildings along the water front which constitute the 
present village, the impossible street with its impossible 
rotten planks and foundation must all be swept away ; 
drains must be cut, new roads planked, new houses built, 
fences made, a Church, school-house and mission-house 
erected, and many other things done, the prospect of 
which fills my heart with joy and dismay at the same time; 
joy, to push forward another work like Aiyansh, and dis- 
may, to think that I may not be able to do it. This, of 
course, is want of faith, for surely God will provide for a 
work which He Himself has so manifestly blessed." 

On his return to Aiyansh, McCullagh was immediately 
sent for to go to Gitlakdamiks, to quell a disturbance 
which had taken place among the people there, caused 
by an outbreak of drunkenness in which the villages of 
Angida and Git ex were also involved. This lamentable 
condition of affairs had been brought about by a band of 
thirty heathen Indians who had been doing their best, with 
the aid of privately-distilled liquor, to exterminate one 
another. The whole country was in a ferment, large 
numbers of the Indians being crazed by the drink. As a 
magistrate McCullagh at once took stern measures. Search- 
warrants were issued and served ; all the distillery appar- 



148 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

atus, together with quantities of liquor, were seized by 
twenty-eight constables specially enrolled for the purpose ; 
the principal culprits were brought before the bench and 
sentenced by McCullagh to various degrees of punish- 
ment, and all were heavily fined. 

Then a reaction set in as quickly and remarkably as the 
outbreak had occurred. ' ' Nearly everyone concerned was 
so alarmed and shocked by the outrageous sin and folly 
into which they had been betrayed that they became 
repentant, and individually and collectively abandoned 
heathenism and joined the Mission at Aiyansh. Men who 
a few months before were the hardest of hard cases are 
to-day to be found praying and prophesying in the Name 
of Christ." In the last chapter of this Journal (for 1905) 
McCullagh was able to write to his friends in England : 

" I am afraid I have been rather delayed in completing 
my letter, but the delay has been caused by events so 
glorious and victorious that I am glad and thankful to be 
able, by God's blessing, to conclude my letter with news 
undreamed-of when I began it : there is not a heathen left on 
the Naas at this date I 

" The events of the past two months would fill a volume 
with the most interesting missionary matter if one had 
time to draw it out as a living picture. As you may 
imagine, our joy is as the joy of those who joy in harvest. 
We have sown the good seed with many a tear and heart- 
ache, but now we have gathered in the sheaves with joy. 

" Pray for all those who have been gathered in, and do 
not forget us in the material part of the work. We shall 
need your help now more than ever." 



CHAPTER XIX 

The Shore End of the Net 

THERE is an old-fashioned method of catching fish 
which is still practised by fishermen on the East 
coast of England. It is by means of the seine net. Some 
three or four men push off from the beach in their crab- 
boat, taking with them one end of the net; the other end 
is held by their partners on the shore. When the oarsmen 
have pulled the boat out to the full extent allowed by the 
length of the net, they begin to row parallel with the 
shore, the other men walking along the beach with them. 
Between them they drag the net for some little distance ; 
then the boat is rowed inshore again ; the net is drawn 
on to the beach and emptied of the fish which have been 
caught. 

This illustrates a primary factor in the principle of 
missions to the heathen. Out into the distant parts of 
the world, across the intervening waters, go the " fishers 
of men," eager to win souls for their Master in lands of 
pagan darkness. They carry with them one end of the 
Gospel net ; the other is held by their partners — those who 
remain at home and help them in their work by prayer and 
gifts. It is all done by co-operation. The missionary 
must be sent out over the sea; but he cannot maintain him- 
self or carry on his work without the material help of the 
friends who undertake to support him in the homeland. 
They hold the shore end of the net ; he and they work 
together, and both alike will rejoice in the great day when 
they lay their spoils at the Master's feet. 

McCullagh could never have done the work of his life 
alone ; he could not have gone out to British Columbia or 

149 



150 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

laboured with such conspicuous success for thirty-eight 
years among the Nishga Indians without the assistance of 
friends who gave generously of their substance and encour- 
aged him by their prayers and sympathy. No one realized 
this better or appreciated it more than the missionary him- 
self. When writing about it, he said : " It is this help which 
makes such work possible. Strictly speaking, there is no 
credit due to me, but rather to those who enable the work 
to be attempted and in some measure accomplished." 

By whom was McCullagh sent out, and by whom was he 
supported when he adventured his life in the high enter- 
prise of evangelizing the Indians at Aiyansh ? Primarily 
by the Church Missionary Society. They held the shore 
end of the net. 

It is no exaggeration to say that this Society has done 
and is doing one of the grandest works ever attempted for 
the regeneration of the human race. But its spiritual 
activities, like those of all missionary agencies, are limited 
and crippled through lack of sufficient monetary support. 

McCullagh' s stipend was for many years guaranteed by 
the C.M.S., but beyond this the Committee could do very 
little. All over the world there were other missionaries 
also struggling on their slender pay to establish native 
Churches. The building of the new Church at Aiyansh, for 
instance, could never have been attempted without the 
extra help afforded by outside friends. McCullagh had no 
private income ; but God did not let His servant's prayers 
go unanswered nor his passion for souls waste itself in vain 
desire. During his first furlough in 1890 a large amount of 
interest was awakened by the wonderful story he told in 
public, enhanced as it was by his magnetic personality and 
his fervent appeals to the conscience and sympathies of 
those who listened to him. 

The late Bishop of St. Albans (Dr. Jacob) was a warm 
friend of McCullagh, whom he looked upon as the ideal 
missionary, continuing for nearly thirty years to give his 
enthusiastic support to the work at Aiyansh. 

Another true and loyal friend was the late Mrs. Foquett, 
the wife of a retired doctor living at Ilfracombe. The 



THE SHORE END OF THE NET 151 

Aiyansh Mission became her absorbing interest during the 
latter years of her life. She did not ask people directly for 
money, but she used to transcribe McCullagh's long letters 
home, sending them round the circle of her friends and, 
except for the prayers that followed them, leaving these to 
make their own appeal to the hearts of the readers. As she 
was a martyr to rheumatism in the hands, this self-imposed 
task must sometimes have been the cause of much pain. 

For many years, during the early and middle stages of his 
work, McCullagh received substantial help for the Indians 
in the shape of blankets and warm clothing through 
the " Missionary Leaves Association ; " its secretary, Mr. 
Malaher, being a warm friend of the missionary. After- 
wards the same kind of help was rendered with equal 
sympathy and appreciation of the work by Mr. T. H. 
Baxter, secretary of the Exhibitions and General Wants 
Department of the Church Missionary Society. 

During McCullagh's second furlough the " Nishga 
Union ** was formed by his friends in England, with the 
object of supporting his work financially as well 
as by their prayers. The Bishop of St. Albans 
became President of the Union, Mrs. Foquett acted 
as secretary, and Mr. C. B. Robinson added his invalu- 
able services in becoming the hon. treasurer. As a trained 
accountant he was able to relieve the missionary of a 
large amount of financial anxiety, thus consecrating his 
special gift to the service of his divine Lord and Master. 
In the last chapter we saw how, during the autumn 
of 1904, the Methodist mission at Lak-Kalzap came under 
McCullagh's control. The need of his presence in this 
place became so urgent that he decided upon deferring his 
much-needed furlough and wintering there, leaving Charles 
Morven, an Indian who had been carefully trained and 
educated by himself from boyhood in the mission-house, in 
charge of Aiyansh during his absence. 

In June, 1905, the Canadian Methodist Church withdrew 
Lak-Kalzap from their official list of mission stations, and 
it was formally united to the Church of England. The 
Bishop of Caledonia compensated the Methodist Missionary 



152 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 



Society for their buildings, paying 1,500 dollars for them 
although they were all in a state of decay. This was the 
utmost he could do with the limited funds at his disposal. 
The Church Missionary Society was already spending as 
much as could possibly be spared for their own stations in 
British Columbia, and they could not undertake any further 
liabilities. McCullagh knew this when he accepted the 
responsibility. From the very first day that the burden 
was laid at his feet and he took it up in obedience, as he 
believed, to the will of God, he clearly foresaw that the 
money needed must be raised by his own personal efforts. 
He therefore made up his mind to come to England, which 
he did early in October, 1906. 

He had in readiness a staff of native catechists, trained 
by himself and licensed by the Bishop as lay evangelists. 
One of these, Charles Morven, he left in charge of the 
Mission at Aiyansh, two others at Lak-Kalzap and one each 
at Gitlakdamiks and Gwinoha. " These," he wrote, " will 
hold the forts during my absence, under the eye of the 
Archdeacon." 

It was then that the Nishga Union was formed with a 
special view to financing Lak-Kalzap. This meant that 
the contributions of old friends hitherto given to Aiyansh 
must in future be transferred to that station. 

M I don't think," writes Mr. Robinson, " that this very 
real self-denial on the part of Mr. McCullagh has ever been 
pointed out ; his scheme for Lak-Kalzap means his own 
serious loss." 

For many years the Nishga Union may be said to have 
joined hands with the Church Missionary Society in hold- 
ing and working the shore end of the net for McCullagh's 
work on the Naas River. 

In September, 1907, was issued the first number of 
Aiyansh Notes, a small quarterly magazine, published with 
the object of maintaining interest in the Mission. In 
September, 1909, this journal put on a new guise, assum- 
ing the title of North British Columbia News. This 
change was owing to a wish expressed by Bishop (now 
Archbishop) Du Vernet to make known the needs of the 






THE SHORE END OF THE NET 153 

diocese of Caledonia. McCullagh willingly acceded to the 
Bishop's desire ; the new journal becoming the official 
channel of information for the work of the whole diocese. 
At the same time he concurred in a scheme which included 
the amalgamation of the Nishga Union Fund with the 
Bishop's Mission Fund. " Here again," writes Mr. Robin- 
son, " McCullagh must have seen that this would divert 
money from his plans, but he loyally acquiesced." 

In these things we may see what a true servant of God 
he was, putting himself and his own work into the back- 
ground if he thought that by so doing he could help in 
advancing the wider interests of the Church as a whole. 
The North British Columbia News still continues to run its 
course as a quarterly journal, brightly written and illus- 
trated by photographs of exceptional interest. 

By McCullagh's personal influence workers were obtained 
for Lak-Kalzap. Mr. E. P. Laycock, a young architect, 
arranged to go out there with his wife and take charge of 
the Mission. They were to be joined by Miss Copeland, 
who undertook to teach the children, and later on by Miss 
Clayton, a lady nurse, when her hospital course was com- 
pleted, if sufficient funds could be obtained. A doctor had 
just settled on the Naas, and a small hospital had been 
opened in the valley ; but there was, as yet, no nurse. 

An urgent letter from the Bishop, pressing the needs of 
the Gitlakdamiks tribe, came at a time when McCullagh 
was making these people the object of special prayer. On 
the very day after receiving this letter he was to address a 
meeting of undergraduates at Cambridge. 

" I was very much distressed in spirit," he wrote, " and 
prayed earnestly that God would raise me up a young man 
at Cambridge, some one with means of his own, who would 
come out and work for a few years in this village (Gitlak- 
damiks)." 

At an informal reception (held before the big meeting) 
in one of the men's rooms at Trinity College, he met Mr. 
Ingram, the son of an officer in the Indian Army, who 
intended becoming a mechanical engineer and electrician. 
The result of their interview was that Mr. Ingram accepted 



154 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 



j 



McCullagh's invitation to go out at his own charges and 
work as a lay missionary at Gitlakdamiks. 

With the prospect of such fellow-workers aiding him to 
carry out his plans, the missionary was able to face the 
future with a new courage and confidence. But there was 
something else of which he stood consciously in need, with- 
out which he never felt himself able to accomplish much, 
and that was intercessory prayer. 

" I would like," he wrote, " to thank all those who came 
to my help in regard to the intercession list I sent home 
with my New Year's greeting. I do not need to ask who 
or how many have made request for me before the throne 
of heavenly grace, for I am receiving the answer in myself 
day by day, even more than I can contain." 

Before leaving England an event occurred of deep impor- 
tance, to his own personal life especially, and also for the 
Indians at Aiyansh. This was his marriage with Eleanor, 
the youngest daughter of the Rev. A. P. and Mrs. Wharton. 
For many years he had been the family's great missionary 
hero, visiting them as friends during his furlough. His 
second marriage proved full of happiness for them both. 
Henceforward his work and his trials were shared by one 
who understood and sympathized with his noble ambition 
for the souls of men. 



CHAPTER XX 

Sunlight and Shadows on the Naas 

ON August 3, 1907, a meeting was held at the Church 
House, Westminster, presided over by the Bishop 
of St. Albans, to say good-bye to the Rev. J. B. and 
Mrs. McCullagh, Mr. and Mrs. E. P. Laycock and Miss 
Copeland. On August 8, they left Liverpool on the 
" Corsican," many friends coming to see them off with a 
word of good cheer and some useful gifts for their trans- 
Atlantic voyage. Mr. J. T. Ingram was to follow them 
by a later boat. Owing to several delays and digressions 
en route the party did not reach their final destination 
until September 28. 

McCullagh was conscious at once of some subtle, inde- 
finable change in the Indians. By degrees he found out 
that during his absence a secret movement had been on 
foot — nothing less than a confederation of all the Indians 
of the Province to throw off the domination of the white 
man. This disaffection had been engineered by an Indian 
chief named Joe Capilano, who in 1905 had paid a visit to 
England and had been received in audience by King 
Edward. Taking advantage of this favour, on his return 
he stated everywhere, and it was believed, that the King 
was on the side of the Indians and against the Canadian 
Government. An anti-English league was to be formed 
in order to boycott and expel from the country all the 
whites except the missionaries. The Indians were to rise 
and go on the war-path, in conjunction with the Japanese, 
whom they regarded as their kinsmen. By this sinister 
influence the tribes on the Naas were rendered unsettled 
and spiritually unsympathetic. McCullagh was only back 

155 



156 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

in time to prevent a serious outbreak. His knowledge 
of the Indians' character and the confidence they had in 
him enabled him to reason with them and to convince 
them of the folly into which they had so nearly been 
betrayed. 

In order to understand one very important side of 
McCullagh's influence in the valley of the Naas, it is 
necessary to explain somewhat fully the relationship 
or antagonism existing between the whites and th 
Indians in Western Canada. 

Among the earliest white settlers and traders, Britis 
Columbia was recognized as a fine country for Indian 
abounding as it did in wild animals which were valuabl 
for their furs and abounding also in salmon with which th 
rivers teemed. But that was all, except for a few dreame 
who saw visions of great possibilities in the future. Wit 
the extension of civilization and the development of indu 
trial enterprise the visions rapidly became realities. An 
then began a race for land, so that soon not a square mile o 
arable land was left unstaked in the Aiyansh and neigh 
bouring valleys or in any other place exhibiting a possi 
bility of raising a potato. 

" The Indian, however," wrote McCullagh, " seemed t< 
be regarded as a negligible quantity in this race, for hi 
hunting and fishing grounds are now all mapped off as th 
property of others, without so much as ' by your leave ' t 
him. Consequently he feels distressed in his mind, sore, 
hurt, aggrieved. He thinks that his ancient rights should 
have been respected, and that his long record of loyalty to 
the ' Great Queen ' better rewarded. Of his own native wit 
he understands that some sort of settlement should have 
been made with him by the Government for the alienation 
of his lands. He misses something to which he cannot 
quite give a name. I think it is Justice. 

" The Indian loves his country with a deep, passionate, 
understanding love, even as I myself have grown to love 
its wild haunts. The rippling streams, the verdant slopes, 
the pine-studded parks, the glorious blue-berry patches 
and strawberry dells, the dense bush, the beaver meadows 






SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 157 

and muskegs, the heavily-timbered forest with its mossy 
carpet and winding ways, the silent lake, the river with its 
everlasting supply of fish, the hunting and the trapping, 
and the labours and the joys of home — all this he sees 
coolly appropriated by strangers, whose only conception 
of him is that he is * a jolly nuisance.' It must be hard 
on him when he takes his family off as of yore to the 
spring hunt, and they once more gather round the old 
camp-tree to make their temporary home, to find the old 
tree blazed and a notice inscribed thereon — 

DON'T HUNT HERE ANY MORE, I HAVE STAKED 
THIS LAND. 

(Signed) WHITE MAN. 

He reads this and the warm blood runs cold to his heart. 
Then his cheeks begin to feel hot and burning ; there is a 
choking sensation in his throat ; his teeth are set and his 
eyes blaze. Look at him, as he stands alone by his rights 
against the magnitude and weight of the whole British 
Empire ! He does not cringe, he does not lose his head 
— he burns, and cries, ' Oh, I feel as if my heart would 
burst/ 

" It must not be inferred that nothing has been done 
by the British Columbia Government for the Indians. 
Most of their villages have been surrounded by reserves 
of varying dimensions ; but these reserves have been 
made without a settlement. A few thousand acres do not 
appeal to the Indian ; he needs a wide range ; like the 
buffalo, he requires a national park." 

To create an atmosphere of good understanding between 
the white man and the Indian ; to plead the cause of the 
latter before the tribunal appointed by the Government, 
on the one hand, and, on the other, to show the Indian 
that his true wisdom lay in adapting himself to the new 
conditions imposed by the onward march of civilization 
— this formed a large part of the missionary's work during 
the latter years of his life. As an instance of the frank, 
fearless way in which he talked straight to the Indians 
on the subject, we will take an extract from a speech he 



158 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

once made to them. They had asked him to act as their 
chairman when they met for the purpose of electing a 
new Council. The chiefs and others who were present 
vigorously advocated a repeal of the " Indian Act," 
substituting for it an imaginary statute which they called 
the " King's Law," by which they hoped to obtain a 
larger measure of tribal authority. Thus McCullagh 
closed his final speech from the chair : 

" I am glad to be assured by you that you are a wise 
people and that you want to walk according to wisdom, 
although my mind has lately been divided on this poin 
It seems to me you have got your wisdom tied up into 
pretty bad knot ; it would take a clever woman to 
unravel your tangled skein. I have listened to your talk 
all night, and said nothing ; now, however, I am going 
to say one word, and give you one little bit of advice. 
My word is this : The Indian Department ought to be, 
and is, as far as I know, the Indian's best friend. My 
advice is this : keep your seats in the old canoe until you 
can get a new and better canoe. You want to jump out 
of the old canoe and get into another which is still growing 
in the woods, not made yet. You say the old canoe leaks. 
Well, I have never yet seen a canoe that didn't leak. 
Have you ? There is nothing the matter with the old 
canoe except this : You won't paddle. The trouble is 
with you yourselves and not with the canoe. The Indian 
Act is all right if you will only make use of it. At any 
rate, I would not jump out of it, if I were you, until the 
King gives you another Act as good, perhaps better. 
Take your paddles and dig away. All the time that 
you are sitting still the canoe is drifting back. And 
then you say, ' It is a bad canoe, that is why it drifts 
back.' 

" And now I have quite finished. I will just say this : 
I am ready to swear in a council and constables properly 
elected according to the provisions of the King's Indian 
Law- Act to-night or to-morrow or any day this week." 

At Lak-Kalzap Mr. and Mrs. Laycock, with Miss Cope- 
land, had a very trying experience. They found the 






SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 159 

mission-buildings in such a dilapidated condition that even 
the Indians said that the house would only be habitable 
for one more winter. It was not, however, subjected to a 
full test of this gloomy prognosis, for on January 15 
(1908) the place caught fire, and before the flames could 
be extinguished the unfortunate trio were burnt out of 
house and home. 

The Nishga Union generously sent out help, enabling 
them, in conjunction with other sources of supply, to 
rebuild. Soon afterwards the Bishop took over the entire 
responsibility of the place, and its subsequent history forms 
no part of the present story. 

Mrs. McCullagh was deeply impressed by the appear- 
ance of her new home, by the well-designed village with its 
streets of grassy sward in the centre and the sidewalks 
made of wooden pavements raised slightly off the ground, 
by the detached houses in which the Indians lived ; and, 
above all, by the Church. She wrote home : 

"It is beautifully situated, and its slender spire, the 
prettiest I have ever seen, stands out against the glorious 
background of snow-capped mountains some three miles 
away. The Church is painted white outside, but the spire 
is coloured in various soft shades, in an interlacing 
diamond pattern, and the effect of this against the white 
mountains is unique. . . . My first Service was a surprise 
to me. ' How is it possible,' I thought, ' that these neatly- 
dressed, nice-looking people with their grave demeanour 
and evident comprehension of the solemnity of the occasion 
can have been, only a quarter of a century ago, not only 
heathens, but savages in paint and feathers ? ' It seems 
incredible. . . . 

u There is a Celebration of the Holy Communion twice a 
month. On the first Sunday in the month it is held in the 
Church at the time of Morning Prayer, and again semi- 
monthly in the Mission-chapel at 8 a.m. The chapel, 
which is part of the mission-house, is easily made 
ready and warm for an early service in zero weather, 
but it takes some hours to heat the Church. At my 
first Communion in the Church I was surprised to see 60 



160 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

communicants go up, all so reverent, quiet and orderly ; 
while at the intermediate service in the Chapel, just as 
the day was beginning to break, and the thermometer 
io° below zero, there were 35 ! I really thought that 
was wonderful." 

We can realize something of the pride with which her 
husband took her, one bright and sunny day, to the 
vantage point of a hill from which to view the valley he 
loved so passionately. " How do you like it ? "he asked, 
rather proudly ; "is it not beautiful ? " After a few 
moments of intense gazing and wondrous admiration, she 
exclaimed : "It is more than beautiful, it is heavenly." 

We may also understand something of his happiness 
and of the renewed spirit of courage and hope in which 
he was able to resume his work, by the way he wrote 
home of his wife's introduction to her new life : 

" The Indians took to her at once, and she to them. I 
never saw anyone so gifted with instinctive insight into 
their character, or so capable of understanding the why 
and the wherefore of their racial limitations and imper- 
fections, as well as of appreciating their good points, of 
which they have not a few. She and my daughter 
Melita have each found in the other a delightful com- 
panion and fellow-worker. Thanks to Mrs. Collison, with 
whom she has been staying for the last few years, my 
daughter is a perfectly capable cook and housekeeper, so 
that between them both they run our backwoods 
menage in such a way as to make one forget it is backwoods 
life at all." 

When reviewing long afterwards the early years she 
spent at Aiyansh, Mrs. McCullagh wrote, " the strife was, 
in a measure, o'er, the battle finished, by the time I 
joined my husband in his work." She meant, of course, 
that the citadel of heathenism had been stormed and 
taken ; and life at the mission-house could be conducted 
on orderly lines. How the missionary spent an ordinary 
day may be gathered from his own description : 

" I begin work daily with the Indians at 9 a.m. They 
come and sit in the entrance-room or mission-room, 



SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 161 

which opens into my library. First, I attend to those 
needing medical care — for an hour or more the scene is a 
reproduction of a home dispensary. 

" Then comes the turn of those who have other matters 
— our parish leaders of various organizations, making 
reports, asking advice, etc., our Municipal Council with 
some suggestion for discussion ; a few private individuals 
with family matters to which I must listen patiently 
and give my advice as pastor of the flock. 

" Then there may be one or more parties from the 
heathen villages with disputes to be settled — disputes 
concerning hunting and fishing rights, cases of assault, 
etc., which may have to be settled magisterially. 

" And so each day begins and goes on. Usually visits 
have to be made to sick people in their houses, and the 
school has to be looked after ; then, during the afternoon 
or evening, I am engaged in translating the Scriptures. 
There are, however, lots of interruptions, for Indians are 
always coming in with their Bibles, to have each one a 
certain text translated, explained and type- written. 
Hitherto the work has gone on till 10 p.m. or later, but 
since my illness I close at 6 or 7 at latest, although I 
would fain go on, like the brook, for ever." 

And yet in some ways the strife was never over, the 
battle never finished. Although the tribes on the Naas 
had abandoned heathenism for Christianity, it must not 
be assumed that they were henceforth free from the 
assaults of many of the temptations to which the}/ 
had yielded without compunction before they knew the 
joy and power of the Gospel of a risen Saviour. There 
was one evil which never could be entirely exorcised 
— the curse of strong drink. For this deadly form of 
mischief the white men were at first mainly responsible. 
The Chinese traders joined them in exploiting the Indian 
at the cost of his moral welfare ; making merchandise 
of his soul and body. 

M I have before me," wrote McCullagh, in an article 
he contributed to the Church Missionary Review (July, 
1912), " the attested statement of an Indian setting forth 

L 



162 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






the fact that, in three consecutive seasons, he bought from 
the Chinese cook and drank six hundred dollars' worth of 
whisky at the cannery where he was employed. I under- 
stand now why the Chinese cook at that cannery was able 
to boast that he had cleared out of the Indians in one 
season a profit of two thousand dollars." 

In some of the villages up the river (Gitlakdamiks, for 
instance) prior to the conversion of their people to Christi- 
anity, the demon of strong drink made havoc of the 
morale of their inhabitants. To a large extent this was 
caused originally by a well-meaning but very thoughtless 
and foolish act, which took place about the year 1900. 

" Who sowed the seed ? " asked McCullagh, in a letter 
to one of his friends. And he goes on to answer his own 
question : " English women, making wine from rasp- 
berries and currants, criminally thoughtless of the monkey- 
like aptitude of the Indian for observing and imitating. 
Now all the berries in the country are turned into fer- 
mented liquor by the Indians." 

As a magistrate he kept his foot well on the neck of the 
evil, but as an ordinary J. P. he really had no power to 
act alone in liquor cases, although he never hesitated to 
issue a search-warrant when reliable information was 
laid as to the manufacture of spirits or wine. 

" At last, however, it was decided by one of the judges 
sitting at Vancouver that a Justice of the Peace had no 
power to issue search-warrants or make seizures on an 
Indian reserve. Thenceforth the by-laws of our pro- 
gressive little Council at Aiyansh became so many dead 
letters, and the Council itself retrogressive. There was 
hardly a house that did not have its well-constructed 
frost-proof wine-cellar, where brews of all kinds, from pain- 
killer and canned tomatoes to swede turnip and strong 
tea, were set to ferment. Councillors, constables and 
erstwhile respectable citizens seemed to find wine-feasting 
in each other's houses a gloriously pleasant form of social 
intercourse. From keeping it quietly indoors they waxed 
bolder, and shamelessly appeared on the streets the worse 
for liquor. What a commentary upon our boasted twen- 



SUNLIGHT AND SHADOWS ON THE NAAS 163 

tieth-century civilization to hear one Indian say to another, 
when the sidewalk has proved too narrow to accommodate 
them, ' Indian all same white man now, you bet ! '" 

After much patience, tact and determination, he suc- 
ceeded in getting a Municipal Council elected by whose 
means the mischief was considerably checked. This 
Council was granted legal powers to deal with the evil, 
but its jurisdiction was limited ; it could exercise no 
control over the heathen part of the reserve. "So we 
are forced," wrote McCullagh in one of his annual letters, 
" to look on helplessly while these deluded people ruin 
themselves in body and soul." 

At Aiyansh a Temperance Society was formed for men 
and another for women. With two or three exceptions 
all the Christians became total abstainers. A Band of 
Hope was also set on foot for the children. 

Pledges were taken and cards signed in the Church. 
Outside the chancel stood a small table on which were 
displayed pen, ink and pledge-cards. The pledge was 
taken before the whole congregation at the close of the 
Evening Service, and the cards, when signed, were hung 
on the wall above the table. If anyone broke the pledge, 
his card was painted with a black border an inch deep and 
was not taken down until the pledge was renewed ! 
" This," said the missionary, " I considered a better 
plan than letting a man hide away his card in his box." 

The temperance movement succeeded well among the 
Christians ; but it is almost needless to say that it was 
impossible ever to persuade a heathen to sign the pledge. 



CHAPTER XXI 

Fighting a Forest Fire 

AMONG the sketches written by McCullagh and 
intended for publication 1 was one with the title 
given to the present chapter. Many accounts have 
been written by travellers or newspaper correspondents 
of the great fires which from time to time devastate the 
forests and prairie lands of the North American continent. 
There is, of necessity, a great sameness about the way 
in which these conflagrations are depicted ; but, as that 
cannot be said of the incident related by the missionary at 
Aiyansh, his remarkable narrative is here recorded in full, 
illustrating as it does the picturesque and graphic style 
which was so characteristic of his writings and by which he 
so easily enabled his readers to visualize the scenes he 
described. 

" It was at the beginning of August, 1885, and intensely 
hot and oppressive ; there had been no rain during the 
previous two months, and the country and mountain-sides 
were thoroughly parched. Vegetation in the valleys was 
crisp and brown, and the fallen timber by which they 
were strewn was like tinder ; the river had been unusually 
turbid and swollen, and never before in the history of 
British Columbia had the mosquitoes a more delightful 
time in the swamps and marshes, to say nothing of our 
log-house, which I had to keep filled with the smoke of 
smouldering grass to keep them out. 

" For a week or more the clear blue of the sky had been 
dimmed with a murky haze, through which the sun 
appeared as a tarnished disc ; the distant mountains could 
no longer be seen ; those adjacent were becoming indis- 
tinct, while an ominous silence seemed to have crept 
1 Page 51. 

m 



FIGHTING A FOREST FIRE 165 

over the country — the forests in the neighbouring region 
were on fire ! 

" Many of the Indians were away at their fishing camps 
up the canon, busily engaged in smoking salmon, and as 
the water was now low enough in the river to admit of 
navigation, I determined to visit them. Accordingly, 
hiring a canoe and a crew of Indians, I started off on a 
week's tour of the camps. The cool depths of the canon 
were pleasantly refreshing ; the ' dodging ' and ' scam- 
pering ' methods of our navigation exhilarating, while an 
unmistakable spice of danger made it exciting. It was 
on this occasion that I saw for the first time a man's 
hair ' stand on end.' We had reached the ' forks ' of the 
canon, a place where two rivers meet at a right angle and 
surge furiously, working themselves into a raging whirl- 
pool before flowing on in unity, where on all sides the 
cliffs rise up as stiff and straight as the houses in Cheap- 
side, but much higher. We had to get through by making 
a ' cannon ' off the wheeling rim of that dreadful pool, 
in order to be driven into a ' pocket/ or reverse current, 
on the opposite side of the stream. Before attempting 
this the men rested awhile in a peaceful eddy by the cliff, 
when one of their number stood up and harangued the 
others, saying, ■ Now, brothers, let your hearts be strong, 
it is every man for his own life ; run the canoe with all 
your might, bow on, to the upper circle of the whirlpool, 
when she will be swept round with the force of a hundred 
men, then all you have to do is to keep her bow up-stream 
while you paddle for yonder current ! ' Up farther we 
went, and then with a mighty push out we dashed towards 
the whirlpool. The man who had just spoken occupied the 
seat in front of me ; his hair was short, and I distinctly 
saw, as we rushed on to the whirl, a creepy, bristling 
process take place all over his head, while his skin turned 
a whitish yellow. He was not, however, any the less 
brave on that account, nor was he an exception, for I 
think a cold shiver ran through us all, as also through a 
group of Indians who were watching us with bated breath 
from the top of the cliff. A little farther up the canon we 



166 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






tied the canoe to the stump of a tree and, there leaving 
it, began to ascend the cliff. The Indians went first, climb- 
ing in good style, while I brought up the rear ; it was a 
hard climb, but the descent turned out to be harder still. 

"We had not been more than three days out when, 
noticing the smoke-fog growing more dense, we ascended 
a hill to see if the fire had made its way into our country. 
Our astonishment was great to behold not only the canon 
country on fire but also dense volumes of smoke in the 
direction of Aiyansh. The fire appeared to have passed 
along the base of the mountains in rear of the Mission 
as far as the rapids, from which point it was evidently 
turning in an up-river direction. Directly this became 
plain to us, the Indians with one voice exclaimed, ' Bum 
milth Aiyansh ! ' (Aiyansh will be burned) ; and then we 
started off at a run for the place where our canoe was 
tied. We were about one hour in reaching Aiyansh — a 
distance of twenty-five miles. 

" When we got there we found the old people and women 
in a state of great excitement, digging pits and burying 
their goods in them. There was no longer any doubt as 
to the course of the fire ; it was coming up the flat strip 
of land lying between the river and the mountains, on 
which strip the mission village stood. There was, how- 
ever, just the possibility of its progress being stayed by a 
small stream which traversed this strip. Accordingly, I 
despatched a canoe and two men to reconnoitre the locality, 
who soon brought back the news that the fire had leaped 
the stream. Then we knew it must be a fight. 

" The Indians were very anxious to clear everything out 
of the mission-house for burial ; but to all their entreaties 
I replied, ' No, thank you.' Then they tried to reason 
with me, pointing out that the piles of fire-wood in the 
rear of the house extended to the verge of the debris 
of fallen trees by which the ground was covered, and 
that nothing could save the house. I thought, however, 
that an attempt to save the house might not entail any 
more labour than taking everything out and burying 
it ; therefore I set about making preparations. 



FIGHTING A FOREST FIRE 167 

At a distance of nearly fifty yards on either side of the 
mission-house stood two Indian huts with two potato 
gardens of some extent behind them. The fire could not 
pass over those cultivated plots, and if I could but carry 
a trench from the outermost angle of one to that of the 
other, a distance of about 100 yards, the whole rear of 
the premises might be protected. "No sooner thought of 
than done. In a moment I am a navvy, digging off the 
surface sod with a four-pronged fork and banking it up 
in the direction in which the fire must come ; the sod 
comes off easily and I rapidly take my trench along ; it is 
four feet wide plus the two feet of upturned sod. I tried 
to persuade the Indians to assist me, but they only stood 
looking on in wonder not unmingled with contempt, as 
though a little doubtful of my sanity, But I had no time 
for words ; so I worked like a machine, utterly indifferent 
to fatigue and to the blinding streams of perspiration 
running down my face. I had not quite finished taking 
off the sod when the roar of the fire was enough to make 
one tremble ; the sky overhead was black with rolling 
volumes of smoke ; pieces of burning timber fell about us 
in showers, so that it was not very long before the fire 
was started here and there on the ' flat.' I was now 
labouring away with a shovel, covering the ground on the 
inner side of my trench, to the extent of six feet, with 
sand ; for after the surface sod had been removed there 
was nothing underneath but fine black sand. The Indians 
were also now busy running down to the river for water, 
which they poured over logs and stumps near at hand, and 
with which they extinguished sparks falling near the 
houses : evidently they had given me up as a hopeless case ! 
" The whole ' flat * was now a raging mass of fire, the 
heat was scorching, the smoke stifling, gigantic tongues of 
flame were leaping up quite close to me with an uncom- 
fortably fluttering sound, like Royal standards in the 
breeze. Every now and then I threw myself flat down 
in the trench to inhale a little fresh air near the surface 
of the cool sand. I was getting exhausted, but my trench 
was at last completed. My next step was to place a large 



168 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

tub on the roof of the house and fill it with water, so that 
I could easily extinguish any sparks falling on the roof 
or piles of firewood. I felt considerable satisfaction as, 
perched upon the roof, I watched the futile efforts of the 
flames to leap my trench. The house with, of course, 
careful watching, now appeared perfectly safe, flanked 
by those two potato gardens ; with a broad barrier running 
between, I could afford to sit and admire the terrific 
grandeur of the scene. For the first time I now looked 
at my hands, which were feeling stiff and sore, to fine 
them in a dreadful condition ! 

" The fire was at this period devouring the mighty forest 
beyond the ' flat ' ; the flames swept along in sheets, 
like immense cataracts, enveloping many a stately spruce 
and cedar in a deadly embrace, and licking up with thei 
fiery tongues the dense undergrowth. The crackling oi 
branches was like incessant volleys of musketry ; huge tree 
trunks splitting with the heat, exploded with loud reporl 
like the discharge of artillery, the crash of falling timbei 
resembled the destruction of war as when mighty men of 
valour fall in battle, while the harsh rumbling swish of the 
relentless element sounded like the onward rush of a 
victorious host devastating all before it. 

" The Indians now began to congregate near me, appar- 
ently in a very humble-minded condition. They were 
glad that the danger was over, but evidently sorry that 
their share of the fight had not been in the trench. 

"Next day, however, they had an opportunity of making 
amends when the fire threatened a village a few miles far- 
ther up the river ; there they dug a trench and no doubt 
saved the place by cutting off the approach of the fire. 

" This first conflagration did good in one way by clearing 
the ' flats ' of fallen timber and other debris, which 
would take much money and labour to clear otherwise : 
the mosquitoes, too, have not been so pestilent since the 
fire. The whole track of the conflagration is now dis- 
tinguished by a growth of willows, which in a few years 
have shot up to the height of ten or twelve feet/' 



CHAPTER XXII 

Burned Out 

THE old mission-house at Aiyansh, with the additional 
rooms built in 1893, was in an advanced stage of 
decay by 19 10 and had already been condemned by its 
owner. And yet he loved it ; most of the labour in con- 
structing it had been the work of his own hands. " Inside 
this ramshackle, ungainly-looking backwoods structure 
were to be found at least some of the comforts and coziness 
of the old nest beyond the sea — a little touch here and a 
little bit there of ' England, home and beauty.' What a 
wealth of love for the dear old motherland is to be found 
stored away in many of the most inaccessible recesses of 
this vast Dominion ! Surely it is not possible that the 
sons and daughters who see the mother least should love 
her most ? And yet this often seems to be the case. Per- 
sonally, I think if I were reduced to the condition of a 
palaeolithic troglodyte I should still try to reproduce a little 
bit of England in my cave. And if I, who am Irish, feel 
like that, I wonder what the true-born Englishman feels ! " 
After the incident related in the last chapter, it is easy 
to understand the haunting dread by which McCullagh was 
for ever afterwards pursued, alike in nightly dreams and in 
waking moments. Many years after that experience he 
wrote : " So it has been with me in all the years since my 
conflict with the great fire ; living in a wooden house, my 
one only fear was FIRE. A scratching mouse sends the 
blood tingling to my finger-tips ; I start up at the voice of 
a bird, and the sound of a grasshopper is a burden. How 
often have I been as quick as the fire itself and nipped it 
in the bud." 



« 



170 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

At last the dread phantom became a living reality, inexo 
able and merciless in the hour of its complete triump 
The story must be told in the missionary's own words, set 
down in his Journal and published a few months later in 
the North British Columbia News. 

" The seventh day of September, 1910, dawned fresh 
and fair over the ' Valley of Eternal Bloom.' The Mission 
garden, for the first time for many years, exhibited a gor- 
geous mass of blossom — dahlias, poppies, sweet-peas, phlox, 
mignonette, stocks, pinks and pansies and many another 
homeland flower. The sun waxed hotter and hotter 
towards noon, glaring down pitilessly from a brassy sky. 
One could hardly bear one's hand for a moment's duration 
on the wood-work outside. 

" At about n o'clock the village constable came in to 
make a report : there had been, it appears, considerable 
excitement among the dogs the previous night, and one 
woman who had been up late, on opening her door to see 
what was the matter, observed the figure of a strange man 
standing by her garden gate a few yards away. The light 
fell full on him, and she waited for him to speak, think- 
ing he wanted something ; but he slunk away into the sur- 
rounding gloom, followed by a pack of yelping dogs. She 
described him as ' short the stature, pale the face, broad the 
shoulders and Boston the hat.' 

" * I imagine the woman must have been indulging in 
fermented berry juice/ I remarked to the constable. 

" ' That is what I thought at first,' he replied ; ' but I 
have been looking into the matter, and find no reason to 
doubt her statement. She seems absolutely sure of her 
niggit, and of course we all heard the dogs.' 

" ' Yes, but the dogs may have been excited by the 
thrilling advent of a porcupine,' I suggested. 

" ' No,' he said, ' there is not a dog in town with a porcu- 
pine quill in his nose. I have looked over them all. No 
dog is missing and no dog is wounded.' 

" ' Then what do you make it out to be ? ' I asked, my 
interest still dormant. 

" ' Well/ he answered, very slowly and with an apolo- 



BURNED OUT 171 

getic air, as though half-ashamed to confess it, 'it was 
undoubtedly a niggit. I am not going to bed to-night. 
Indians never discard or think lightly of a niggit, and I 
would advise you to keep a close watch on the mission- 
house.' 

" ' Close watch for what ? ' I inquired, rather amusedly. 

" ' For fire,' he replied gravely. 

" To the best of my recollection the above contains the 
sum and substance of the conversation which took place 
between the constable and myself. I was amused and, 
perhaps, a little interested from a psychological point of 
view, being aware that the Indians have intuitions and 
uncanny monitions which more civilized people have either 
outgrown or never known. If only I had taken the niggit 
as seriously as the Indian did, the history of this day might 
have been as peaceful and uneventful in the afternoon as 
it was in the morning. Twelve o'clock was our midday 
mealtime, and just as we had finished lunch, a solitary 
white man from Stewart arrived in town and had refresh- 
ment in the porch. The kitchen fire was then allowed to 
die out or was kept very low, and there was no other fire 
alight in the whole premises. After lunch our white visitor 
went out to the village store to replenish his pack and, at 
about 3 p.m., on going out to the wood-house, I found him 
there and entered into conversation with him for a short 
time. While thus engaged, my attention was attracted to 
the roof of the house by that unmistakable crackle which 
sends the blood tingling to one's finger-tips and a cold chill 
to the heart. On looking up I was horrified to see the 
whole roof covered with tiny waves of flame — no smoke, 
only just rippling flame everywhere. Seizing an axe I 
rushed indoors, giving the alarm, and essayed to ascend the 
attic stair. A single glance, however, into the attic was 
sufficient to assure me that by no means at our disposal 
could we possibly stay or extinguish the devouring flames. 
In much less time than it takes to tell, pandemonium seemed 
to be let loose in the entire attic space under the roof. A 
large room there was entirely lined with canvas, while the 
sheathing and shingles of the roof were so old, desiccated 



i 7 2 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

and hot to the point of ignition almost by the down- 
pouring sun that it was just like touching off a powder 
magazine — the thing seemed to proceed instantaneously 
from tiny ripples of flame to the mighty rush and roar of a 
hurricane. 

" It did not take many seconds to understand that little 
or nothing was destined to be saved. The first thought 
that took form in my mind was that my loved ones would, 
in all probability, have to sleep on the bare ground that 
night. Accordingly I made a dash for my wife's room an< 
succeeded in getting out with some bedding and blankets 
which I deposited safely in the summer-house. My wife 
had been working at her sewing-machine and baby Nanq 
had just awakened from her afternoon slumber. One 
two women came to help, but the principal thing they seei 
to h ave got out in the short time at their disposal was tl 
rag-box ! My writing-machine was also saved and stowec 
away among the raspberry bushes, where the keys were 
being rapidly melted, when I espied it and hooked it out. 
It appears that several other things were placed too near 
the house, and were eventually consumed. Some Indians 
also went to the assistance of my son-in-law and his wife, 
who were frantically trying to save their effects in another 
part of the building. 

" Leaving the bedroom to the women who had come to 
help, I made a dash for the sitting-room, where there were 
not a few valuable things, particularly some of my wife's 
wedding presents. On the first trip I brought out a large 
Indian brass tray and vase, with its stand ; the next I got 
away with several articles of plate from the chiffonier ; the 
third attempt was more dangerous : as yet the room was 
free of smoke, but the flames were fast enveloping it, and 
molten tar, from some patent roofing which I had put up 
a month before, was coming through the ceiling, while 
showers of glowing embers poured through the stove-pipe 
register. I sighed to think I was standing for the last time 
in that charming room, the fruit of so much personal labour 
and love. I felt loath to leave it and paused a moment for 
one last look round. On the table in the centre, on the 



BURNED OUT 173 

piano and on the writing table, vases of fresh flowers, 
which my beloved in the joy of her heart had arranged 
that very morning, were all unconsciously exhaling their last 
perfume. On the walls, in their gilt frames, hung several 
sweet English country scenes and well-remembered faces, 
all precious in our eyes because of the love and friendship 
of hearts beyond the seas. Sheets of flame swept down 
from the roof and whipped the windows like banners 
fluttering in the breeze. Panes of glass warped, buckled, 
shivered ; soon they would be running down like water. 
One or two sweet-looking children in their silver frames 
found refuge in my breast ; out of either trouser-pocket a 
candlestick craned its slender neck ; under each arm was 
tucked a precious vase — ' Good-bye, sweet home, good- 
bye ! ' and with a choke and a dash I was out in the open 
air, never again to enter the old house. One could not 
approach the house at all now; but nevertheless I managed 
to trundle the washing-machine to a safe distance, also a 
heavy box of hardware belonging to the Church. A few old 
stoves that were in an outhouse I lifted and carried (how, 
I don't know now) to a safe distance. I then felt I had 
about reached the end of my tether. Haizimsqu was on 
the scene now and had helped the Priestleys in getting out 
some of their things ; a few old and invalid men stood 
around but could do nothing. Mrs. Haizimsqu was the 
very best ' man ' in the field that day — she closed with my 
daughter's organ and never let go her grip until it was out- 
side and safely bestowed. 

" All at once I missed my wife and my precious Nancy. 
Surely the child had not trotted back into the house and 
her mother after her ? To my rather wildly-yelled inquiries 
I could get no answer. I must get back into the house at 
all costs ! Accordingly, I ran round to the front and made 
an effort to get in through the printing office. Here an 
Indian woman caught me up and pulled me back, trying to 
make me understand that my wife and child were up the 
street towards the Church. Meanwhile Haizimsqu, who 
was still on the garden side of the house, also caught the 
idea that Nancy had gone back into the bedroom, and 



174 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

without any hesitation leaped through the burning porch 
and, on his hands and knees, went about the room, groping 
for the child, but of course found her not. His hands, 
however, came into contact with the sewing-machine, which 
he brought out with him. Burning coals had fallen all over 
his back, his clothing was on fire, and I have no doubt he 
felt pretty well roasted himself, so he wisely headed for the 
river ! 

" At this juncture James Smythe, our village constable, 
who had been out fishing in his canoe nearly a mile away 
and had observed the fire break out on the roof of the 
mission-house, leaped like a great cariboo into the midst of 
our confusion. 

" 'Where is the box of dynamite ? ' he panted. 

" The dynamite had been utterly forgotten ! It was 
stored in an outhouse off the woodshed, and the flames had 
already sent out a double line of skirmishers there — the 
action was head on ! But James bounded easily through 
and presently emerged through flames and smoke with 
the box of dynamite in his arms. 

" M thought when I saw the fire break out that in all 
probability this box would be overlooked/ " he quietly 
remarked ; " so I pulled right in-shore, without taking my 
net out of the water, and raced for all I was worth.' He 
was entitled to smile triumphantly. 

" Most of the able-bodied men were, like James, away 
hunting or fishing, otherwise a great deal of property might 
have been saved. 

" Realizing that there was nothing left now but the ash- 
end of things, I wended my weary way towards the Church, 
and there I found my wife sitting on the grass with Nancy 
playing beside her. 

" ' Well, Nell,' I said, ' it is all over. I did what I could, 
I am tired now.' May every tired head be as sympatheti- 
cally pillowed in the time of need. We found that one 
small handkerchief had been saved between us, and with 
that the grime and moisture were wiped from my brow. 

" 'We have each other left,'" I heard her say, ' and 
Nancy.' 



BURNED OUT 175 

" ' Yes,' I replied, as bravely as I could, ' nothing really 
is lost but a few things temporal ; faith, hope and love 
never go up like this.' 

"And so we comforted each other. 

"It appears that the first thing my wife did was to send 
the nurse-girl away with Nancy up to the Church, and when 
she was forced to flee herself she joined them there. As my 
first thought had been about the bedding and blankets, so 
my wife's first concern was for the printing office, where 
she knew the things I most valued were to be found. 
Making her way thither alone immediately on the out- 
break of the fire, she set to work on the press, but failed to 
make any impression. She tried this, she tried that — but 
everything was abominably heavy. With commendable 
resource she laid hold of two Indians, but her choice was 
unfortunate, being limited — one could not see clearly, and 
the other could not breathe freely ! So the large trays of 
type and heavy machinery remained unmoved. With the 
exception of a small proof-press, nothing was salvaged out 
of the printing-office. Forgetting to save a pair of boots 
for herself (I found her up the street in stockinged feet), she 
spent the brief moment of salvation at her disposal in 
trying to wrestle with impossible machinery because she 
knew these things lay nearest my heart. 

" The apartments occupied by my daughter and her hus- 
band had been sweetly fitted up for them on their marriage 
in July last. Poor things ! they, too, lost nearly all their 
belongings. It was quite pathetic to see them, as the fire 
went down, trying to hook things out of the burning. And 
right nobly have they sustained their loss ; I have not 
heard the shadow of a complaint from either of them. 

" We were now homeless, and as they had it in the new s 
papers afterwards, ' destitute.' And thus we s'tood on the 
bank of the river as though we had just been dropped 
down from the skies, unencumbered with any of this world's 
goods, and nothing to go upon but our faith in God. We 
very soon realized, however, that, having faith, we had 
everything. 

" The fact is, we never for a moment felt destitute or dis- 



176 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

tressed or depressed ; we had passed through the fire, it is 
true, but the ' smell ' of it had not passed upon our hearts. 
The promise of our divine, ascending Master, ' Lo, I am 
with you alway/ was amply verified, for we were harassed 
by no care, worried by no anxiety, beset by no misgiving. 
An abiding sense of security and an all-pervading peace 
kept our hearts. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, 
as it were, the proportions and perspective of life were 
changed. The foreground, with its laboured insistence on 
the importance and value of things present, faded into a 
mere fleecy cloud in the background, while the indefinite, 
though heart-ravishing ethereal blue of the far-away took 
glorious shape and presence in the one fundamental fact of 
life that We are in Christ. I said to myself, ' This is worth 
the loss of all things to see this as I see it now.' Of course 
I knew it before — as a doctrine, a teaching, a Gospel truth ; 
now I seemed to know it just as I know any physical fact 
about myself — in my heart, in my mind, in myself. Out- 
side of Him we can do nothing, i.e. nothing that He will 
own, that can be identified with His work. Thus we 
reasoned, and then, this being so, we unitedly resolved to 
ask no man for anything and make no appeal for funds in 
any quarter, and that only a bare statement of facts should 
be published about the fire. We felt that such a calamity 
did not fall upon us without the Divine permission, and 
that the matter of supply and rebuilding ought to be left 
entirely in God's hands. 

H An Indian house was temporarily placed at our disposal, 
two rooms of which were habitable, one being the kitchen, 
with table and cooking-stove in it. We took possession of the 
inner chamber, while the Priestleys occupied the kitchen. 
Our blankets and bedding were deposited in a corner on 
the floor ; a few salvaged chairs came in handy, while the 
rag-box, for the first time in its life, found itself in a position 
of honour ! Then that inestimable feature of the Indian 
character, which places him easily side by side with the 
best white people, was sweetly unfolded to our view ; one 
by one the women came up to my wife, the tears streaming 
down their cheeks, took her in their arms and kissed her. 



BURNED OUT 177 

That, I suppose, was a manifestation of sympathy on the 
spiritual plane. Then they came down to the level of 
ordinary everyday life, and showed more sympathy there. 
One brought in a cardboard box, from which she drew a 
suit of men's underwear and a shirt — ' no doubt " Shimoi- 
git " would be glad of a change after the hot time.' I can 
truly vouch for the fact that ' Shimoigit ' was very glad. 
Another comes in with a fifty-pound bag of flour on her 
back — ' for Nancy to eat.' Buckets of potatoes, tea, sugar, 
coffee, ship's biscuit and loaves of bread, milk and cream, 
bacon and mountain mutton, new-laid eggs, fresh salmon, 
salt salmon, smoked salmon and dishes of fresh fruit came 
pouring in ' for Nancy to eat.' Blind Paul Muddy water, 
with two overcoats on his arm, is led in ; one coat he delivers 
to me and the other to young Priestley, ' for a rainy day.' 
And still it comes : cups, saucers, dishes, plates, pots, pans, 
jugs and pails, drop in intermittently, ' for Nancy's mother 
to use/ 

" A heap of firewood seems to deposit itself automatically 
outside in the street ; a fire begins to crackle in the stove ; 
a tub of fresh water is set down on the verandah; the kettle 
begins to sing the old familiar song; there is a pleasant 
sound of spoons tinkling against cups and saucers, and 
presently Melita's sweet voice calls out, ' Tea is now ready.' 

" At first we thought that, owing to the near approach of 
winter, we should have to get out to the coast as quickly 
as possible, but Paul Muddywater offered us the use of his 
villa, consisting of one room and two ' cubbies.' The house 
had not been occupied for many seasons and was in pretty 
bad repair ; but we looked it over and concluded that by 
building on a kitchen and duly patching up the original we 
might possibly be able to winter in it. And so again I 
found myself scraping, tinkering, papering, painting and 
building." 

Bravely as the missionary and his wife bore their heavy 
burden, they must have felt intensely the loss of their home 
and treasured possessions, as well as the privations and 
discomforts which of necessity had to be endured by them- 

M 



178 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

selves and their two little children (Jean was born just a 
month after the fire). A sentence, culled from a private 
letter written by McCullagh soon after the fire, shows how 
sorely their faith and courage were tried : " My experience 
has never been like this in all my time here. All the hard- 
ness of the past twenty-eight years rolled into one winter's 
experience ! If it were not for a very special revelation of 
the Lord Jesus Himself to our souls we could never have 
weathered the storm." 

Unfortunately, neither the mission-house nor the mis- 
sionary's personal possessions had been insured. 

An appeal for help was at once made by friends in 
England through the Caledonia Missionary Union, by Mr. 
Baxter through the Missionary Leaves Association, and 
also by friends in Canada through the Women's Auxiliary of 
various dioceses. Prompt and generous was the response, 
and very interesting and instructive on the spiritual side 
is the way McCullagh was able to write about this when 
the building fund was well on its way. 

"It is the habit of Christians generally to speak of 
answers to prayer as something exceptional in the religious 
life ; whereas, really, the unanswered prayer should be the 
exceptional experience, the answered prayer the rule. It 
was fully two months after the fire before I could find it in 
my heart to make the building of the new mission-house a 
subject of special prayer. And when I did lay the matter 
before the Lord, it was not in the form of a request, asking 
for anything, but rather begging Him to consider the 
situation in all its bearings upon the glory of the Father, 
and to do what was good in His own sight about the re- 
erection or otherwise of the Mission buildings. Since then 
there is abundant evidence that it is the Lord's will to 
reconstruct the Mission on a better basis. Up to date I 
make out that the sum of 2,606 dollars has been voluntarily 
contributed by God's people towards the erection of new 
mission premises. We have not asked anything for our- 
selves, and not a dollar of the above sum goes towards 
replacing any of our personal losses. It is entirely a 
diocesan fund for a diocesan provision. Dear Bishop 







2 "3 



M 



BURNED OUT 179 

Ridley sent me shortly before he died a cheque for 100 
dollars towards replacing some of my private losses — 
books, I take it — but I have spent this sum upon a little 
type and a small press. This is the only sum I have 
received which is available for my personal needs. The 
Indians here also gave me a contribution of 65 dollars 
towards my printing outfit. I ought to mention that the 
loss of my printing outfit and my books touches me closer 
than the loss of the buildings. I felt as though a lifelong 
colleague in my work had been suddenly taken away from 
me. One evening in the Church, while keeping vigil there, 
I asked the Lord about the printing press, but received no 
definite assurance. The people were at the time assembled 
in the town hall at a supper given by one of the chiefs, and 
the subject of my printing-press formed the basis of their 
postprandial conversation. The dish went round and 65 
dollars were collected on the spot. This was handed to me 
next day, and I received it as the Lord's answer to my 
inquiry and an earnest of restored equipment.' ' 

A considerable interval of time was necessary before the 
new mission-house could be built. " You can't take a tree 
that is growing in the forest and turn it into a house the 
same year it is cut ; the wood must be seasoned." As 
soon as possible, however, the logs were procured, brought 
to the saw-mill, cut up into suitable lengths and carted to 
the new site which had been cleared over an area of about 
one acre. By the spring of 1912 the material was thor- 
oughly seasoned and the work of construction was finished 
during the following summer. Before the winter of 1912-13 
McCullagh was able to write home with his heart full of 
thankfulness and his spirits buoyant with a fresh note of 
cheerfulness and hope. 

The new house was considerably larger than the old one, 
the reason for this being that a number of white men had 
come out to settle in the country. McCullagh's heart 
warmed towards these lonely men ; he greatly desired to 
make his home a centre for them where they could come 
and feel themselves at home. He thought especially of 
Christmas time ; therefore several additional rooms were 



180 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

built in anticipation of his future guests. In the autumn 
of 1912 he wrote : " A truly noble structure, built in 
' colonial ' or ' Californian ' bungalow style, with fine out- 
spreading eaves, lofty porch and wide verandah, stands 
looking out upon a lawn-designate and flowers, miniature 
lake, rustic bridge, kitchen garden and ample grounds, the 
whole covering ten acres and fenced in with strong barbed 
wire." 



CHAPTER XXIII 

Relapse and Revival 

1HAVE no greater joy/' wrote St. John, " than to hear 
that my children walk in the truth." But that 
kind of happiness has not always been the good fortune of 
the Apostles and pastors of the Christian Church. " I am 
afraid of you," wrote St. Paul to his Galatian converts, 
" lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." McCul- 
lagh had known well the joy of the one experience ; he 
lived to learn the bitterness of the other. Towards the 
close of 1 910 he had to witness the spiritual retrogression of 
the people he loved so dearly at Aiyansh ; there appeared to 
be at one time even a danger of their return to heathenism. 
The drink-evil was largely the cause of this ; the same 
principle governs a whole community as that by which the 
individual soul of a man is influenced ; if any one form of 
sin is yielded to it makes a breach through which the flood 
of unbelief finds an entrance and swamps the whole 
religious life. 

The village Council had been elected according to law, 
and the members sworn in ; also the constables, but they 
failed to govern the village or to maintain order. Insidi- 
ously the mischief got hold of the people ; at first secretly, 
but soon openly, the drink-habit was indulged in. Before 
long " every man did that which was right in his own eyes," 
until, at last, " after the return from the coast last autumn, 
things went from bad to worse. And yet, strange to say, 
they nearly all came regularly to Church on Sundays, clean 
and neatly dressed, as though they had none of them gone 
out of the way. They would sing and answer the responses 
freely, and then look daggers at the pulpit, where the 

181 



182 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






faithful mirror of God's Word showed them what they 
really were. Some especially resented the preaching. It 
seemed to me often to make matters worse, to arouse even 
positive animosity. 

" The months of October, November and December, 
1910, I shall never forget. The recent loss of the Mission 
buildings and all our worldly goods, together with the 
straitened circumstances in which we found ourselves, were 
but a featherweight on my heart compared with the distress 
occasioned by the dishonour done to the ineffable Name by 
those who bore it, whose brows I had once solemnly signed 
with the sign of the Cross, in token that thereafter they 
should not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ 
crucified. And now, behold, their greatest ambition was 
to make a glory of death. Day in and day out feasts for 
the dead, offerings for the dead, honour for totems, honour 
for crests, grave-stones erected with processional and 
musical honours ! Eight beasts were slain during those 
three dark months to provide feasts for the dead. It was 
history repeating itself : ' They joined themselves also unto 
Baal-peor and ate the sacrifices of the dead ' (Ps. cvi. 28). 
As might be expected, the old heathen halaid lifted up its 
befeathered head at these feasts. It was only a matter of 
time, a short time, before other painted abominations 
should resume their ancient sway, the glorification of the 
dead being the pivotal point of Indian heathenism. The 
preacher's reiterated warnings that God would visit for all 
this fell upon unheeding ears. ' See, he never preaches 
now without cursing us,' they said one to another. To 
warn an Indian congregation of God's wrath is to denounce 
it and curse it and blight it. 

' ' At last my spirit began to despair. To despair while our 
blessed Lord sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high 
is a deadening if not a deadly sin. With the words ringing 
down the centuries and in our ears, ' All power is given 
unto Me in heaven and in earth ' — how dare we doubt ? 
And yet I did doubt — not the Lord, of course, but I had 
my doubts about many things. I doubted whether I was 
here to any purpose. I doubted whether the work of my 



RELAPSE AND REVIVAL 183 

life had been real. I doubted whether it was right of me 
to keep on burdening the Christian Church with a mission 
among a people who, after twenty-seven years' work among 
them, could rise no higher than the glorification of a dead 
man and desire no other pleasure than that to be extracted 
from a keg of fermented berry juice. And while my mind 
was occupied with doubts like these, I picked up a little 
magazine called ' Living Waters,' and there I saw a small 
headline that stopped me like a Mauser bullet — * Don't 
draw back, believe in God.' That was all, but it was enough. 

" No, I would not despair ; I would not allow myself to 
be worried by doubts. I would take the whole matter 
officially to the Lord and put it in His hands. There was 
to be a great feast at Gitlakdamiks for a dead chief, and 
my heart trembled for the people ; there was no knowing 
what they would do next. 

" It was 7 p.m. on a dark December night, the tempera- 
ture fifteen or more degrees below zero, and the whole village 
had gone up to the feast — a long line of dogs and sleds, 
tinkling bells and twinkling lights over the snow. Light- 
ing a hand-lantern, I proceeded alone to the Church, where 
I put on my robes and entered the chancel, my solitary 
light looking like a ghostly star in the piled-up gloom. It 
was cold, but I did not heed that. Before the Holy Table 
I knelt down, and there audibly and deliberately made my 
official report to the great Head of the Church, going into 
all the details from beginning to end. Very fully did I 
realize that this was not just taking things to the Lord in 
prayer. I cannot well describe it or define the act, but I 
understood, and I knew the Lord would understand that, 
as His servant, I had come to the end of the ordinary means 
and resources placed in my hands. It was a wonderful 
passage in one's ministerial and spiritual life, and would be 
kept secret as well as sacred in my own breast if it were 
not that the glory of God demands the telling. The Lord 
answered me fully and questioned and examined me closely 
on every point, all by means of the written Word, the 
Spirit applying it and throwing light upon it in my soul. 
I replied too, and pleaded also the written Word. But some 



184 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

of my pleadings were denied and plainly shown to me t( 
be based on false assumptions. I was glad to be put right. 
I felt that this was part of the loving correction that makes 
a man a new creature. The feeling of distress and depress- 
ing sense of despair were utterly lifted from my soul. I 
forgot the cold in the warmth of the Master's love, and the 
piled-up shadows fell away. There was no doubt left 
my mind — the enemy was already driven back, beaten, 
discomfited ! 

" How wonderful ! That very night at the feast the head 
chief of the Gitlakdamiks made a speech strongly advocat- 
ing the return of the tribe to heathenism. But a strange 
thing happened : the daughter of an Aiyansh man, who 
had been dancing a few minutes before, had tripped over the 
fire and was nearly burned. The incident seemed to her 
father to be a sign, a portent of mischief and trouble to 
follow. He arose after the chief had sat down, and spok( 
out what was in his mind, and his words had a powerfi 
effect in opening the eyes of all who were present to see 
whither they were drifting. Self-reproach and dismay at 
their folly began taking possession of them one by one. 

The next night there was another feast, this time at the 
Town Hall at Aiyansh. Again I stood officially and alone 
in the Church before the Lord, the sounds of the idiotic din 
falling on my ears, for the Hall is quite close to the Church. 
Considerable dissension arose at this feast, certain men 
accusing others of having led the people astray for the 
purpose of ministering to their own pride and family pre- 
eminence. One cried, ' How long will it be before we 
understand that the devil has captured us all ? ' 

" And so, night after night, for a couple of weeks, when- 
ever the people were gathered together feasting and drink- 
ing, I stood robed in the chancel before the Lord. 

" Now the work of grace began to be renewed in their 
hearts. From Gitlakdamiks and Aiyansh penitents came 
to me seeking to make their peace with God, one of the 
first being the chief who had suggested the re-establish- 
ment of the old heathen system. 

" It seemed to me important, in view of the necessity of 



RELAPSE AND REVIVAL 185 

maintaining some measure and form of Church discipline 
(not by way of inflicting punishment or imposing penance), 
that order and method should be observed in the reception 
of penitents, to the end that all might know that the Church 
stands within the walls of the Lord's authority and that 
her gates are guarded day and night. The wanderer 
returning must knock ; the penitent must seek admission 
if he would be re-admitted, and the return, the penitence 
and the re-admission of each erring one, being manifestly the 
concern of all, should be made known to the faithful within. 

"Following this line, therefore, each penitent had an 
interview with me in the vestry before the Service, and a 
list was drawn up for public announcement, together with a 
short statement from each, of his or her intention to lead a 
new life. This was read after the sermon, from the chancel 
steps, the penitents standing before me. The congregation 
was then asked to unite with me in prayer for the strength- 
ening of these weak brethren. Sometimes the nature of a 
case demanded public admonition or some definite instruc- 
tion, and these were delivered there at the time. The 
method worked well and was entirely satisfactory, both to 
myself and the congregation. 

"By Christmas Day, with the exception of a few 
stragglers, our wayward flock was safely folded again, and 
our various little Church organizations once more at work. 
I am glad to say our Church Army never became quite ex- 
tinct, though its active membership at one time dwindled 
down to three ; these three held the fort and bore faithful 
witness. It had been the practice of the choir to decorate 
the Church at Christmas time; but this year I closed down 
all decorations. Instead, I had the purple hangings put 
out, and the Church was in mourning on Christmas Day. 

" On these lines we proceeded during the Epiphany 
season, building up and restoring faith to a higher level, 
assuring and comforting the weak-hearted, nursing and 
nourishing the wounded of the flock, gently leading some, 
helping others along by forcible persuasion and sharp 
rebuke, with a strong check all the time upon the Indian 
tendency to excitability." 



186 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






The relapse indeed had been serious, but the revival was 
real. The missionary's lonely vigil developed into a small 
intercessory prayer union. Very wonderful were some of 
the answers received for petitions offered at the throne of 
grace. A leading heathen chief named Nis Yog, at Gitlak- 
damiks, openly abjured heathenism and avowed his faith 
in the Lord Christ. He proved the reality of his new con- 
fession by cutting down his totem pole. In doing so he 
said : " No man has talked to me about this, but the Spirit 
of God has put it into my heart this day." His example 
was followed by others, and the next Sunday most of 
the leading men had taken their stand beside Nis Yog, 
and of their own accord requested the missionary to draw 
up a paper for them to sign, by which they renounced all 
the old customs and practices of heathenism, and pledged 
themselves by a solemn oath in the name of the One true 
God, to carry out the reformation of their people on the 
lines laid down by the teachings of Christianity. 

The alternations of discouragement and renewed hopes 
to which McCullagh became liable after these events may 
be understood by an extract taken from a private letter 
written to a friend in England : 

" I don't know how I live ; my heart is so sore about the 
Indian work. But I hold on to my faith in God like grim 
death. If I die, I will die trusting Him ! Yet I have joy 
and hope, as well as faith, still, in the Indian work, and I 
believe it will eventually come up to our hopes. When the 
Indians from four villages come to me and plead with me 
(as though I had only to speak and the thing should be 
done) to do this and that and the other for them, and I know 
I cannot do it — cannot even make ends meet from pantry 
to kitchen — I feel as if I would like to die ; and again, when 
I see sheep after sheep (lost for two or three or more years) 
come back to the fold, I feel as if I would like to live. 
Unfortunately, neither my dying nor my living can accom- 
plish anything if the work goes unsupported. All the 
grand work of past years will be ' scrapped ' very soon if 
we don't make ' fast all over.' " 



CHAPTER XXIV 

I The White Man 

"HT^HE servant of God who is commissioned to go and 
X preach the Gospel to the heathen usually finds 
before long that the pagan barbarian is not the only man 
that comes into the orbit of his human interests. What- 
ever be the corner of his Master's vineyard in which he 
labours ; whether the natives are black, brown, yellow, 
I or red, there, sooner or later, he is bound to come across 
the ubiquitous white man. The missionary is always 
preceded or followed by the explorer, the trader or the 
settler. This often means for him a good deal more in 
the way of responsibility than he counted on when he 
undertook to evangelize the heathen. There is, of course, 
the natural joy of seeing a white face and of holding 
social intercourse with those who have been brought 
up in the customs and manners of civilization. This 
gladness is frequently enhanced by the privilege of 
helping, in things material and spiritual, the lonely settler 
or colonist, or the agent of some trading company who 
finds what he needs in the brotherly welcome afforded 
him at the mission-house. 

Speaking in a general way about British Columbia, 
it has been said that "if we classified our Church mis- 
sions under past, present and future, the missions of the 
past would be largely a history of work among the 
Indians ; the missions of the present would be about 
equally divided between the Indians and the settlers ; 
while the missions of the future would include the scores 
of new places which are springing up in connection with 
mining, fishing, lumbering and farming, chiefly along the 
line of the Grand Trunk Railway — entirely white work ex- 

187 



188 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

cept for a touch of yellow here and there where the vigorous 
and enterprising Japanese are establishing themselves." 

This was McCullagh's experience during the eight-and- 
thirty years he spent on the Naas River. As time went on 
he felt increasingly the claims of the white man as well as 
the burden of the Red Indian. In 1914 he wrote : 

" The work at Aiyansh is no longer that of a mission but 
of a ' parish,' extending over the length and breadth of the 
whole valley. Many white settlers have come to make 
their homes here — English, Irish, Scotch, American, Dutch, 
German, Norwegian, Swedish, French and others. The 
blending of all these different elements into one harmonious 
community, with a good moral tone and an attitude of 
friendliness towards the Church, as represented by the 
Mission ; as also their relationship to the Indians and that 
of the Indians towards them, make the work of the 
missionary at this time not only arduous but highly 
important and interesting." 

His journals and letters throw many an illuminating 
side-light on the characters of the white men he came 
across ; they also show the special difficulties he had to 
overcome in the balance of justice when seeking to 
reconcile the rival interests and prejudices of the Red 
Indian and the white settler. He had learned by the 
grace of God to love the Indian ; by a natural pre- 
disposition he also loved the men of his own race and 
colour. He had a big warm heart with room in it for 
both and for all, and his natural gifts and quickness of 
adaptability to any sort of environment enabled him to 
acquire that personal ascendancy over the Indians which 
played so important a part in leading them to accept the 
Gospel ; while it came easy to him to get on with the white 
trader or settler — a peculiar species of their kind who, for 
the most part, showed a generous front to the breezy 
manners, the manly personality and the transparent 
sympathy of " Mac," as he was familiarly called by those 
who knew him well. He had the gift of finding his way 
many a time to the hearts of those rough men who bore 
the reputation of being " hard nuts to crack." 



THE WHITE MAN 189 

It will be remembered x that at Fishing Cove, near the 
mouth of the river, the missionary's summer residence 
was a little shanty built in a dangerous position, because 
the two white men who owned most of the land around the 
Cove refused to give him a plot on which to build. After 
his first furlough in England, on his way back to Aiyansh, 
he, with his wife and daughter, spent a few days at the 
Cove, arriving there in September 1892. The fishing was 
over for the season ; the Indians had returned to their 
hunting-grounds ; but a few whites and some Chinamen 
were still there. 

On Sunday McCullagh went down to the harbour at the 
river's mouth and held a service in the little church 
there for the English-speaking people ; being accom- 
panied by a contingent of white men from the Cove. 
On the following Sunday the whites from the harbour 
came over to the Cove, where a service was held in one 
of the shanties. Among those present were the two 
white men who, four years before, had refused to let him 
have land for building. One of these had been an infidel ; 
the other was not much better. 

" After the service I said to B : 

" ' Well, Commodore, you've got the sunshine down here 
all to yourself ; you ought to be generous and share it ; I've 
got none.' 

" ' Yer just right there, Mr. Mac ; the sun shines here all 
the year round, and yer can have yer share of it if yer like.' 

" ' How can I have my share of it when my house is under 
the cliff, thanks to your kindly feelings of four years ago ? ' 

" ' Oh ! that was a mistake, a mistake,' regretfully. ' But,' 
suddenly, ' Ned and I'll put that right in a jiffy ; eh, Ned ? ' 

" ' Yeas,' replied Ned, ' Mr. McCullagh can shift the 
shanty any time he likes, and we'll be rale glad to have him 
near us ; there's the purtiest spot on earth, beyond where 
the scow is beached, that ye can have ; there's an Injun 
shack on it, but I'll take that down and I'll have no more 
Injuns squattin' round close to the house, drinking ginger 
and Florida wather.' 

1 See page 88. 



iqo McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

"So it is arranged that I move my cabin down to the 
' purtiest spot ' next spring, for which I am very 
thankful/' 

A few days after this, the McCullaghs resumed their 
journey up the river, staying for an hour at Greenville 
(Lak-Kalzap). Near this village a white settler lay 
dying. McCullagh went to see him and found him on a 
bed on the floor, propped up by pillows and protected 
by a mosquito curtain. 

" How very pleased he was to see me ! and how pleased 
I was on inquiry as to his spiritual state to find that 
he was falling asleep in Christ ! ' You remember,' said 

he, ' when you preached to B C and me a year and 

a half ago ? Well, I doubted if I could be saved then ; but 
I am dying in Christ now; I have a good hope and a strong 

consolation.' ' Praise God for that, Y ,' I replied ; 

' hold fast to Christ as you pass through the dark valley, 
and fear no evil ; for He will bring you safely into the 
light of eternal day.' " 

1897 was annus mirabilis in the gold-mining industry of 
British Columbia, some rich discoveries having been 
made in the valley of the Yukon river, in Alaska. Thou- 
sands of adventurers, British and American, hastened to 
explore the auriferous fields. The rush to Klondyke 
was the outstanding sensation among the gold-seekers. 
The Naas and Skeena rivers were the most direct routes 
to some of these mines, and many of the white men, 
prospecting for gold, passed through Aiyansh. On one 
occasion, at least, they expressed their amazement at 
finding a village where they could stay for a few days' 
rest and leave their mining outfits and other valuables 
lying about with no fear of anything being stolen by the 
Indians. As typical of this unwonted experience, one of 
the gold-seekers, in his inimitable style, remarked to a 
comrade on the trail, after leaving the Mission : " Ef I 
hadn't seen it meself, and that thar preacher down Aiyansh 
'ad a told it back East, I'd a said he wuz lyin', straight." 
They were equally astonished at the whole appearance 
of the settlement. Men who had never been inside a 



THE WHITE MAN 191 

church in their lives before, remained over Sunday, in order 
to attend divine service and try to understand something 
of the way in which the miracle had been wrought. 
"Among them were several professional men, and it was 
quite encouraging," wrote McCullagh in one of his annual 
letters, '* to hear their frequent and unexpected encomiums 
on the work of the Mission. One man, a doctor, whom 
I had asked to accompany me on a visit to a sick person, 
took me into his confidence. ' I don't mind telling you 
now,' he said, ' that I came here very much prejudiced 
against missionary work/ 

" ■ Indeed ; and are you still so minded, having seen 
something of the work ? ' 

" ' No, sir,' he cried, ' I'm converted right down to the 
bottom.' 

" Another party cried out, on starting for the gold-fields : 
' The first nugget we find shall be for the Mission.' " 

The burden of the white man at times lay heavily on 
the heart of this faithful servant of the Lord, with his warm 
sympathies and his love of souls. 

" During my ministry here," he wrote, " I have met men 
of all classes coming and going — prospectors, miners, 
timber-cruisers, land-seekers, engineers, surveyors, govern- 
ment officials and others, most of them decent fellows and 
friendly to the missionary (excepting the land-grabbers), 
and these I am hoping to string together wherever they 
may be, as my congregation, by means of my little 
printing-press. With a scattered parish like this I can 
have no classes, no meetings, no instruction-lessons 
orally ; I must therefore use the press. You may say, 
' There is ample literature supplied cheap by various 
agencies that would cover all this ground. Can't you use 
that ? ' I reply, ' No ; it would not even gain a reading 
among the class of people with whom I have to deal. 
The production must be local and have the home-interest 
interwoven with local colour. Furthermore, the Indians 
would benefit indirectly ; for, while they might be indiffer- 
ent in regard to what I printed for them and just take it 
for granted,they will never rest until they know every word 



192 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

of what I am saying to the white man. I shall print as 
time allows little Chats by the way and mail the same 
with a type-written, friendly epistle to each man just to 
say ' How do you do ? ' or ' Keep your pecker up/ etc. 

" They are to be termed ' WAYFARERS,' and all I ask 
of them is to keep me posted with their address. I 
would be glad to get from parents in the old country the 
names and addresses of sons who are out here trying to 
make their way in the world. A private letter from 
father, mother, sister or brother would be considered by 
me as a sacred commission, and would ensure that the 
WAYFARER got a word to put him wise and a pat on 
the shoulder to hearten him up." 

Again : "I want something that will draw the white 
men in the direction of the mission-house without making 
them fight shy, and the best thing I can think of is a 
Backwoods Lending Library. I want books on History, 
Romance (i.e. the historical novel), Fiction, Travel, 
Science, Agriculture, Religion (evidential), Poetry. Think 
of the men, evening after evening, in cabins and shacks 
with nothing to read and far from all touch with civilized 
surroundings. Oh ! the number of shelves in many an 
English home, full of books, unused, unread, unconsulted, 
cumbering the walls ! And yet they could be made to do 
work for God if applied wisely to the purpose." 

His mind was full of schemes for the material and 
spiritual welfare of the settlers and other white men. 
He was very hospitable, giving them a welcome whenever 
they came to see him, his chief difficulty being that some- 
times he had not enough blankets to go round. That 
these men went to the missionary in times of sickness 
and accident is made evident by one of his journals in 
which he says that his stock of medicines for the Indians 
was being used up so quickly by the white men that he 
would have to ask for a special extra grant of drugs from 
the Government until a regularly qualified doctor could 
come to settle in the valley. 

When referring afterwards to the new mission-house 
which was built in the place of the one destroyed by fire, 




Z .2 



O ** 



THE WHITE MAN 193 

Mrs. McCullagh wrote : " It had been built extra large 
with the view of exercising hospitality among the white 
men who had settled in the valley. The Christmas of 1913 
will never be forgotten by those forty or fifty men and one 
or two families who found corners all over the village and 
mission-house to sleep in during the three days' festivities. 
The Indians excelled themselves in good-will, clearly 
proving their Christianity by forgetting all differences and 
old feuds at the time of peace and good- will to men." 

How McCullagh's heart yearned over these men may be 
seen in a letter he wrote home to a friend in England : 
" We want this house to do work for God ! We want to be 
able to gather the men about us and make them feel at 
home, and the lower they are in the social scale the more 
we want to give them a place at the mission-table, not 
below the salt but above it." And yet once more he 
wrote : " Remember, these settlers, almost without 
exception, are strangers and foreigners to the Christian 
faith. If they have any sentiment at all in this regard, 
it is antipathy, backed up by prejudice and miscon- 
ception. It is our aim to change the former to sympathy 
and the latter into thin air. The first we do by taking 
them into our hearts and homes just as they are ; and the 
way their nature responds is a revelation. Within the 
short space of one year we have exchanged hearts — we 
love them and they love us. There is not one among them 
under whose feet we would not place our hands ; and there 
is not one among them who would not willingly risk his 
life, if need be, to save ours. This is a glorious beginning ; 
but it is only a beginning. Whether I shall realize all my 
programme for them lies in the Lord's hands ; something 
really definite and practical ought to be done. To go run- 
ning round after these men with just a tract or two in your 
pocket is cheap — cheap for the missionary and cheap in 
their estimation. I want to come into their life and take hold 
of their hearts as a necessary preliminary to gaining their 
attention for what I have to say about the things of God." 



CHAPTER XXV 

With Voice and Pen 

EVERY missionary is not a born preacher or public 
speaker. Some of those who do the best work as 
pioneers of the Evangel and in the building up of native 
churches have no gifts of oratory ; nor does the lack of 
this natural endowment always form a serious impediment 
to their endeavours to teach and train their converts 
in the truth and practice of Christianity, instruction in 
faith and ethics being more necessary than fervent appeals 
to the conscience and reason when these are in their 
undeveloped state. 

Sometimes the missionary who has learned the art of 
preaching with power and attractiveness in the language 
of the people who claim and receive the best that is in 
him does not excel in the pulpit of an English church 
or on the platform of a town-hall where the atmosphere 
and environment are so different from that with which he 
is for the most part familiar. 

McCullagh possessed a natural gift of eloquence and, 
with it, the rare talent of being equally at home when 
preaching or speaking to an English or an Indian audi- 
ence. 

When describing his work at Aiyansh he wrote : 

" I experience a great deal of pleasure in preaching to 
the Indians. They are keen listeners, and many of them 
are so receptive as to be able to reproduce verbatim many 
of my sermons. The great thing is to be able to present 
the subject of a sermon as one distinct idea, discussed 
and explained from the Indian point of view as well as 
from our own. They like and appreciate the contrast, 

194 



WITH VOICE AND PEN 195 

They also have a great delight in illustrations taken from 
Indian life, their habits and customs, laws and traditions 
— from all of which I draw freely." 

" His preaching was wonderful," writes Mrs. McCullagh, 
" and his power of enthralling the Indian mind and 
holding the close attention of his listeners was remark- 
able. Particularly they loved to hear his teaching on the 
Old Testament, where so many of the acts of the Children 
of Israel and others would find a counterpart in their own 
lives. How often have I seen an Indian seize him by the 
hand after church and thank him again and again for the 
wonderful sermon which had uplifted his spirit or possibly 
humbled the hearer to the dust." 

In an article contributed to the Church Missionary 
Review for March 1913, Bishop du Vernet described a 
Sunday he spent at Lak-Kalzap when McCullagh was there. 
" There were fine congregations," the Bishop wrote, 
" both morning and evening. At the evening Service 
I watched the faces of the men, women and children as 
they listened with rapt attention to Mr. McCullagh 
preaching most eloquently and powerfully in their own 
tongue. I could see how he was winning those people 
and bringing the unruly element into subjection through 
the power of his masterful personality. God the Holy 
Spirit was indeed at work over-ruling things for good." 

One day an Indian came to him as a penitent. McCul- 
lagh expressed surprise at this, saying, "lam more than 
pleased to see you take this stand, George ; I certainly 
did not look for you, seeing that you and Andrew have 
been booked to make several death-feasts." 

" ' Ah/ he replied, ' that is where you make a mistake, 
Tkalwelimlqu. Do you suppose we approve of the things 
we do ? We do not approve. We hate the whole 
business ; but we are so roped together as Indians that 
one drags the others down until we are all in. We know 
all the time that we are doing wrong ; but it is very 
hard.' 

" ' What is very hard ? ' I asked. 

" ' It is very hard,' he replied, ' where the Malasqu 



196 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

(preaching of God's Word) comes against us. I've 
come out of church sometimes and vowed I would 
never enter the building again, I felt so angry. Often 
after Service I have not been able to eat my food ; it has 
stuck in my throat. Several times I have gone away into 
the bush and wept ; I have said the vilest things I could 
think of against you.' 
" ' Why ? ' I interrupted. 

" ' Because'you made us feel sore in our hearts," he went 
on ; ' you shot at us from every side, you burned up 
every bush we hid behind, you left us no way of escape, 
we could find no excuse anywhere. The very things we 
said secretly in our hearts you told them to us openly 
before our face. We knew we were doing wrong, but we 
would not admit we were as sinful as you made us out 
to be. You made us feel that we must either change 
very much or become heathens altogether. It certainly 
was hard." 

When he was home on furlough McCullagh, of course, 
did a good deal of deputation work for the Church Mis- 
sionary Society. Wherever he went he was very accept- 
able, both in the pulpit and on the platform. His 
sermons were marked by intense fervour and spirituality. 
" To preach to an English congregation," he wrote, 
" is indeed a spiritual treat. They give such expectant 
attention that the soul of the preacher is called forth in 
response. How lenient they are and how self-repressing, 
even to the end ! Congregations differ, temperamentally, 
one would suppose, according to locality ; but the differ- 
ence is always agreeable, and all are capable of great 
things if touched by enthusiasm. The English character 
can well afford a little more enthusiasm in spiritual 
things." 

His power of appeal to the hearts and consciences of 
his hearers was proved when the offertory was counted 
afterwards ! During his last furlough, he went as a 
deputation for the C.M.S. to a town in the west of England, 
preaching in different churches on the Sunday. The 
morning congregation at a certain church was called 



THE REV. J. B. McCULLAGH, 
At the author's home in Norfolk, during his last furlough. 



WITH VOICE AND PEN 197 

" wealthy " by comparison ; the sermon then being 
preached by a well-known and highly esteemed clergy- 
man ; the collection was £8 13s. 6d., a pound less than 
the previous year. McCullagh was the evening preacher. 
He was told that the congregation would be composed 
of just moderately well-to-do people and artisans, and that 
he could not expect more than about £3, which was the 
amount given the year before. " Well," he said, " I don't 
want this year to be less than last year." "lam afraid 
it will have to be less," said the Vicar. The people 
began listening to the sermon with much religious indiffer- 
ence ; but they were soon awake ! For three-quarters of 
an hour they hung with bated breath on the preacher's 
words. Then came the collection. A lady who was 
present observed a young man sitting in front of her take 
sixpence out of his pocket in anticipation, but when the 
plate came round he substituted for it a 10s. note. 
When the churchwardens came to count the offertory it 
was found to be £18 17s. 6d. ! 

As a platform speaker his popularity was very marked. 
Those who heard him once would go long distances to hear 
him again. His racy Irish humour when telling an 
anecdote, his convincing way of presenting the cause of 
Missions, his telling appeals to the conscience and the heart 
will never be forgotten by those who listened to him. His 
own feelings on such occasions found expression thus 
when recording his impressions about the methods of 
conducting missionary meetings : 

" Given a good start and sufficient time, the missionary 
must understand that the success of the meeting depends 
on himself. Can he take hold of his audience and make 
them see and feel the things that he has seen and felt and 
done ? Can he be convincing and at the same time 
entertaining ? Can he elicit sympathy, without appealing 
for it ? Can he infuse the spirit of sacrifice and show the 
glory of it ? His story is only a means to an end and, 
be it long or short, unique or commonplace, he must reach 
that end — must reach it by force, by the force of his own 
personality. Poor missionary ! He may never have given 



198 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

a thought to his little bit of personality, and yet — wh; 
would his story be without it ? " 

There was no privilege he esteemed more highly th; 
that of addressing large gatherings of men, and he knew 
the power he had over them. " Personally, I love men ; 
I love to see men come to a missionary meeting, par- 
ticularly business men. It interests me to interest them 
and to show them that missionary work is a man's 
work." 

He did not consider himself a children's preacher. 
" Meetings and services for children are more difficult 
than any other. It requires a special gift to gain and 
retain the attention of children ; but it is worth all the 
pains and trouble.' ' And yet, that he was more success- 
ful here than he was aware may fairly be inferred from 
one incident. In 1916 he gave an address to the children 
of the Priory School, Great Yarmouth. This awakened 
in their minds such an interest that a special request 
was sent, asking him to write them a letter before his 
furlough was over. The answer came promptly in a 
type-written message, which has been preserved and is 
here reproduced, because of its characteristic originality 
as well as the interest it possesses for the lovers of birds 
and animals. 



OUT WITH THE RAVENS 

" The raven is the first bird mentioned by name in the 
Bible. It seems that Noah thought very highly of him, 
for of all the birds in the Ark he seemed to be the wisest 
and cleverest and best fitted to be sent out over the wild 
waste of waters to see how things were going on. But he 
did not prove a good messenger; he forgot to return and 
so earned a bad name for himself. But he made up for 
this later on by feeding Elijah who was hiding near the 
brook Cherith — ' the ravens brought him bread and flesh 
in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening, and he 
drank (water) from the brook/ We love the ravens for 



WITH VOICE AND PEN 199 

that service, and we are glad to read in the Bible that God 
feeds the young ravens when they cry. 

" Out in British Columbia, in the backwoods and among 
the mountains, the ravens love the companionship of 
man ; I think they love the missionary very much, for 
they always come to his house and sit on the roof, and 
they have no fear of him. Some people do not like the 
raven because he is dressed in black; they think he is a 
dull bird, but that is quite a mistake ; he is full of fun and 
loves a joke when he has had a good dinner. Just see 
him when the joy of life takes hold of him, cutting all 
sorts of capers up in the air, looping the loop and hanging 
by his toes to the Cottonwood's topmost bough, laughing 
and croaking to himself as if he were a boy ! He is broader- 
minded than the blue jay, and does not get cross at little 
troubles or scold one like the blue jay ; but he is smart, 
very inquisitive and as cunning as cunning can be in 
getting what he wants. He is also a very clever pretender, 
and if he wants a thing very much he never lets you catch 
him looking at it. I do not know if he can count, but 
I almost believe he can think, and what is more, that 
he can let the other ravens know what he thinks. 

" I remember one winter's day watching a raven com- 
peting with a dog for a piece of salmon which had been 
dropped near the village water-hole on the ice of the river. 
Every time the raven got hold of the salmon the dog 
drove it away, but the raven was back again at the hole 
as soon as the dog. The raven's tail got wet every time, 
and by the time the dog retired from the contest the 
raven had a large blob of ice frozen to the soft feathers 
under his tail, so that when he was free to fly away 
with his prize he was not able to lift it into the air. For 
a moment he seemed at a loss what to do ; then, dragging 
his piece of salmon some little distance away, he left it 
there and flew up with some difficulty on to the roof of 
my house. The roof was covered with three feet of snow ; 
but where the kitchen stove-pipe stood there was a nice 
little crater thawed away by the warmth of the stove- 
pipe, and there the raven settled himself until the ice was 



200 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

all thawed from his tail, when he flew down again 
found his piece of salmon all right, this time being abl 
to lift it and carry it away to the woods. 

" I once had a lovely St. Bernard dog whose daily morn- 
ing ration consisted of a piece of dried salmon. Some- 
times she would leave a bit of this, and lie with her nose on 
her paws a little way off, watching it. One day a raven 
tried to get away with this precious morsel, and Norah 
allowed him to take liberties with it to a certain extent, 
but when he tried to fly away with it she leapt to her feet 
and chased him away, barking furiously. Three times 
the raven tried to get the salmon and three times Norah 
chased him. Then he flew away. But by and by he was 
back with another raven, and they both sat on the wall 
watching the dog. Presently one raven ventured down 
into the yard and began to walk about innocently but 
intent upon the salmon, for which he made a dash at last. 
Then Norah leapt at him and enjoyed a good long bow- 
wow at him. But while she was thus engaged the other 
raven came down quickly from the wall and, snatching the 
salmon up in his beak, flew with it into a tree. And there 
the other raven joined him and together they enjoyed the 
feast. This looks as if the ravens were able to make 
known to each other what they thought. 

" The raven is also a good fighter. I once saw a conflict 
between two ravens and an eagle which lasted an hour. 
The eagle did not try to fight at all — indeed, it could 
not, for one raven always managed to be above it and the 
other underneath, for it was all done while flying in 
the air and over the river. The eagle made desperate 
efforts to get in among the trees at the side of the river, 
but the ravens never allowed him to do so ; they kept 
him flying to and fro above the water, always beating 
him lower and lower. Then I understood their tactics — 
they intended to drive him so low that he would be bound 
to strike water and so become powerless ; and this, 
indeed, they succeeded in doing at last, and so conquered 
their enemy. 

" Among the Indians the raven occupies a high position, 



WITH VOICE AND PEN 201 

for you will see him carved on almost every totem pole. 
The Indians think he lives longer than a man and has had 
a supernatural origin. It is strange, too, that the Nishga 
Indians of British Columbia and the Arabs in the desert of 
Arabia should have the same name for this historic bird. 
But, of course, the reason for this is obvious when we 
find the raven calling himself by the same name — Gag ! " 

We can easily understand that a mind so versatile as 
McCullagh's should want to give expression at times to its 
thoughts and feelings and aspirations in the language of 
poetry. If his life had not otherwise been so busy as to 
leave but few leisure hours for cultivating such a gift, 
he would probably have developed a high order of talent 
in this direction. As it was, he wrote a fair number of 
poems which indicate the latent possibilities of real 
genius. Three short ones will serve as samples of the 
whole. 

LOST OPPORTUNITY 

(An Allegory) 

You came along one summer's day 
And paused where I was resting, 
And through the trees one heavenly ray 
Did on your golden tresses play : 
I thought you " interesting." 

With wistful gaze your eyes of blue 
Caught mine, a moment holding : 
The woodland blooms took brighter hue 
And birds began their song anew, 
But I sat self -enfolding. 

It seemed as if with out-stretched hand 

You stood a moment pleading : 

I felt my soul within expand ; 

A light (ne'er seen on sea or land) 

Shone in. I went on reading. 

A shadow fell athwart the glade, 
The birds gave up their singing, 
The very flowers seemed dismayed : 
I looked, and saw your image fade, 
And rose up — arms out-flinging. 



202 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

But you had gone ! And now I see 

You were an Angel maying — 

A golden opportunity, 

A gift of life and love to me, 

Now lost through my delaying. 



NOT FOR OURSELVES 

Not for itself does the lily bloom, 

In vesture fair arrayed : 
For you and me is its sweet perfume 

Wafted across the glade. 

Not for himself shines the orb of day, 

All glorious in the sky : 
For man and his does the quick 'ning ray 

The warmth of life supply. 

Not for itself falls the gentle rain 

Upon the furrowed field : 
For us and ours does the golden grain 

Its store of plenty yield. 

Not for the pain are sorrow and grief ; 

Not for its balm is love ; 
Not for the joy of living is life, 

But all for the world above. 

Not for itself, but for man, is the earth 

A beautiful abode ; 
Not for himself comes man to the birth — 

Not for himself but God. 



TRANSFIGURED TEARS 

A dark and cloudy morn ; 
Cling sad and chill 
The raindrops on the thorn 
Beneath the hill. 

Emblem of human tears, 
Heart-break and pain ; 
A soul beset with fears 
When hope seems vain. 

Lo ! clouds asunder break ; 
The sun shines clear ; 
The rain-drops glory take, 
And disappear. 



WITH VOICE AND PEN 203 

Thus are the woes of years 
Transfigured, while 
Away are wiped all tears 
In God's own smile. 

O weary heart, look up, 
As God looks down ; 
Hold forth thy empty cup, 
Behold thy crown. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

The Flood 

McCULLAGH came home in 1914 for what proved to 
be his last furlough in the old country, bringing 
with him his wife and three little children. They arrived 
in England just before the outbreak of war. It seemed 
to him at first that " the missionary alone would have no 
place in the national life ; for where and how could he 
hope to plead his cause or urge its claims amid the impend- 
ing tumult and alarms of war ? " But very soon he saw 
things in a different light. " The atmosphere of the 
Church is now so cleared of extraneous matter that the 
cause of Foreign Missions can be viewed and treated side 
by side with the cause of the nation. For if the nation 
considers the cause of righteousness, truth and justice 
so precious as to justify England's position on its defence, 
how can the Church deny the Gospel to the nations still 
sitting in darkness ? . . . For there is no glory for England 
apart from the Cross." Although as keen as ever to 
preach and speak for the work he loved and for the Master 
he loved still better, his efforts were greatly hampered by 
ill-health. Sometimes he could scarcely get through a 
sermon or address because of internal pain. How much 
he suffered only his wife and his doctor knew. To the 
outside world he always showed a brave face ; if he 
referred to his illness at all he made light of it, as though it 
were a subject for humour rather than fear. In a letter 
dated March 3, 191 5, he wrote : 

" By the way, I did not tell you, the doctor is reducing 
me : probably I have lost 20 lb. since I saw you last. 
I am allowed nothing but meat — if I eat anything else I 

204 




MRS. McCULLAG T ., WITH JEAN, NANCY AND PAT. 



THE FLOOD 205 

have to steal it ! Just think of it ! not a murphy to my 
taste ; no sugar or sweetmeats of any kind — but I am 
very brave and call them all sour ! It is wonderful 
how one gets to believe a thing when set forth in the garb 
of philosophy and repeated often enough. Oh, my lovely, 
laughing Irish potato ! That I should ever have to speak 
of thee as an enemy, and look upon thee in the dish 
with a hostile gleam in my eye, absolutely breaks my 
heart. After a long and happy life together, it is very 
hard not to be on speaking terms." 

He was to have returned to Aiyansh in the autumn of 
1 915, but the medical authorities, acting for the Church 
Missionary Society, as well as for his personal welfare, 
advised him to remain under their care until the next 
April. He went into a nursing-home to undergo an 
operation ; but, after being twice X-rayed, this was 
considered inadvisable. 

By the following spring he felt quite fit again, and in 
August he started on his return journey, with his wife and 
four children, Nancy, Jean, Pat and Chris. They were 
accompanied by Miss Gambles, who joined them as 
nursery-governess for the children and who proved 
herself an invaluable friend in the dark days that lay in 
front of them all. 

The train in which they travelled from Euston met 
with an accident at Bletchley, one of the passengers, a 
soldier, being killed in the collision and several others 
injured. Nancy and Jean got knocked about rather 
badly, but happily they were not seriously hurt. As 
their luggage was delayed by this accident, they lost 
their boat at Liverpool and had to wait for the next 
ship sailing to Quebec, eventually arriving at Aiyansh 
about the middle of September. " How proud we felt 
of our new house ! " wrote Mrs. McCullagh, " with its 
own enclosure, its gay flower-beds and green lawns." 

Alas ! their joy and pride were destined to be short- 
lived. 

McCullagh found the people at a low spiritual ebb, 
" trying to make a show of living while they were dead. 



206 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

My time has been entirely devoted to putting a new 
foundation to their faith." The attendance at Church 
Services and Bible-Classes was poor at first ; but soon 
there were signs of improvement. The drink-evil had 
again gained ground ; the foe was too deeply entrenched 
among the Indians to be easily eradicated. By the 
autumn of 1917 McCullagh had completed his translation 
of the Epistle to the Romans ; a few finishing touches only 
were required before the work was to be sent to London 
and passed through the printing-press of the Bible 
Society. While translating, he also taught the people, 
going through the Epistle in eighteen lectures. " This is 
the first time," he wrote, " the Epistles have been opened 
up to the Indian mind ; and the result is very interesting. 
First a great sense of disappointment as to the man 
Self ; and secondly, a great and new joy in the man 
Christ Jesus ! I may truly say that the whole Indian 
conception of eternity has been changed, and I am now 
eager to make that change permanent by printing the 
Epistle." 

Before this could be accomplished the blow fell and 
the Aiyansh Mission was washed out by a devastating 
flood. Such a catastrophe had never been contemplated 
by McCullagh since the time when the old mission-house 
stood on the river-bank. The new house had been built 
much farther back and on higher ground. As a rule the 
Naas falls to a low ebb during the dry summer months, 
its reservoirs of supply being exhausted by October or 
early November when the autumnal freshet is due ; this 
being caused by the Chi? 100k or warm south wind which 
then sets in and thaws the soft, newly-fallen snow on the 
mountains. 

September, 1917, was an unusually wet month. October 
was still more so, sixteen inches of rain having been reck- 
oned as the downfall. Before the melted snow came 
from the mountains the river was already in full spate and 
absolutely unnavigable. In writing about this after- 
wards, McCullagh expresses amazement at the want of 
forethought shown by himself and the Indians ; they 



THE FLOOD 207 

ought to have known that, when the melted snow should 
add its volume to the already swollen stream, the river 
was bound to overflow its banks. But they could hardly be 
blamed for that which really caused their great misfortune. 
By the middle of November the state of the river was 
awful to behold ; on the afternoon of Sunday, the 18th, 
tidings came that the river had broken through near 
Gitlakdamiks and was rushing down behind Aiyansh. 
The terrible import of this soon became evident ; it meant 
that before many hours were over the devoted settlement 
would be surrounded by water, and would soon be the 
plaything of two mighty currents, rapidly converging, 
until they united to become one torrential stream. 
" Towards evening, in the dim, misty light, like a thief, 
like a panther stalking its prey, the water bounded forth 
from the forest at the back of the town and, following a 
natural depression in the ground, sprang fair at the 
back of the mission-house. In ten short minutes the 
basement was full and everything therein swished about 
in a churning of liquid mud. Presently the two seething 
volumes of water met, beat up against each other for a 
time in competition, and then, uniting their forces, started 
to climb over every obstacle through the live-long night." 
It was indeed an awful night, the turbid stream rushing 
past below, while the rain, like sheets of water, fell from 
the heavens above. By Tuesday morning there were over 
ten feet of water in the house and the deluge was still in 
the ascendant. " Notice to quit " was imperative. In 
the afternoon three Indians arrived with a large canoe, 
and the mission-house party decided to avail themselves 
of this opportunity. Throwing a few necessaries into the 
canoe, they stepped into her off the verandah and then 
poled and paddled their way through the trees to Gitlak- 
damiks. Here they took refuge in the church which had 
been built but was not yet completely finished. By 
Wednesday the flood began to show signs of abating. 
A return to Aiyansh was effected, and they found the 
mission-house in a deplorable condition ; it was standing 
all right, but everything inside was ruined, including the 



208 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

winter's supply of provisions which had only just been 
stored. The missionary's printing-office was completely 
submerged. When the waters eventually subsided, he 
found that the machinery and type could be cleaned of 
rust and recovered for use as gold is washed from mud, 
but his precious books (including the backwoods library) 
and translations were reduced to a muddy pulp. Some 
of the other houses in the village had been carried away 
entirely by the flood ; the saw-mill and many of the 
buildings were swept away and the debris scattered 
all over the country ; the church was still standing. 

A big meeting of the Indians was held, a few weeks 
after the river had resumed its normal condition, and 
the situation was squarely faced and fairly discussed. 
It was considered a certainty that, at any time in the future 
when the river was high, the overflow would come through 
the breach once made in the bank below Gitlakdamiks and 
so make possible a repetition of the inundation which had 
so nearly swept away their entire village. Therefore they 
decided upon removing the houses from Aiyansh to Git- 
lakdamiks. Between them they formed a company and, 
in turn, each man's house was pulled down, the lumber 
was carted on sleighs along the Gospel road and rebuilt on 
the new space of ground allotted to him. The removal 
of the mission-house was delayed until sufficient money 
could be collected for its deportation, the Church Mission- 
ary Society giving a grant for this purpose. 

As the mission-house was not habitable, McCullagh and 
his family took refuge in the same little house belonging 
to Paul Muddywater which had sheltered them after the 
fire. This time it was a very close fit ; there being four 
children instead of two, and in addition, Miss Gambles, 
whose courage, adaptability and resourcefulness were 
splendid for a girl who had been brought up quietly in a 
good and comfortable English home. 

When news of the disaster reached England early in 
1918, sympathy and substantial help came from many 
quarters and were a source of much comfort and good 
cheer to the distressed party at Aiyansh. They suffered 



THE FLOOD 209 

much from the winter's cold and from lack of proper 
food, as they had no means of replenishing their potato 
stock, or the barrels and boxes of provisions destroyed 
or carried away by the flood. 

During the winter of 1917-18 the missionary did 
his best at cleaning from the accretions of mud and rust 
his beloved printing-press (a new one for which he had 
collected money during his last furlough) ; this he set up 
in a place screened off in the church, and there he re- 
commenced his work of translation. But the flood had 
proved too much for him in his delicate state of health, 
and he never recovered his physical strength. He had to 
leave to others (including Charlie Morven and some 
faithful helpers) the work of removing and re-erecting 
the mission-house at Gitlakdamiks, while he could only 
stand by and look on ; indeed, his heart was broken for 
such labour. He and his family were able to move in 
for the winter of 1918-19 ; but, owing to lack of funds, 
there were no comforts in the home, and they had to live on 
very meagre fare. Steadily his health declined, and he 
suffered much from pain and sickness. A doctor from 
the coast came up the river to see him and, with his help 
and by using the medicine he prescribed, McCullagh 
managed to pull through until the spring, when he was 
persuaded to take the boat for Prince Rupert and put 
himself for six weeks under the care of his good friend 
and much-valued medical adviser, Dr. Kergin, who then 
allowed him to return to Aiyansh on the condition that 
he took things very quietly for a year, and then, if the 
work proved too much, that he should resign and come 
home to England. 

His strength, however, steadily decreased, and so he 
decided on sending his resignation to the Church Mission- 
ary Society. This was accepted by a letter expressing 
a hearty appreciation of his great work and also begging 
Mrs. McCullagh to take every care of him until the spring 
opened up, and his C.M.S. friends would then all be looking 
for his return and hoping to see him enjoy his much- 
needed and well-earned rest. 





210 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

But this was not the will of God for him. One Sunday 
evening in October (1920), after preaching with intense 
earnestness and with all the appearance of his old-time 
vigour, he collapsed in the church and was carried up 
the hill to the mission-house. This was his last Service 
in church. During the following winter the Services on 
Sunday were carried on by the faithful licensed lay 
preachers, Charles Morven and Jonathan Mercer, with the 
occasional help of the brothers Paul and William Mercer, 
two of the boys trained by the missionary to do his print- 
ing work. Faithfully and to the best of their ability they 
fulfilled their duty, while their dear " Master " lay on his 
bed of sickness, " weak and often suffering, but never utter- 
ing a word of complaint or disappointment at being unable 
to go on with the work his heart had been so greatly set 
on accomplishing." 

Nothing now seemed left for him but his faith in God, 
which never failed, and the love of those who watched by 
his side, nursing him and ministering to his needs with the 
best of their available resources, and hoping that he might 
yet be restored to some degree of health and strength. 
But that hope was never to be realized. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

Sunset 

AND was this to be the end of it all ? Thirty-eight 
years before, he had renounced the ambition of his 
youth, he had turned his back on the alluring prospects 
held out to him of a successful career in the Army, and 
instead he had chosen the humble lot of serving a tribe of 
Indians, then in a degraded condition. He had given 
them the very best of all the powers with which God had 
endowed him. The work he accomplished for their moral 
and spiritual regeneration, as well as for their material and 
educational advancement, had provoked the wonder and 
admiration of all who were acquainted with this great 
transformation. He had gloried in acknowledging that 
his faith in God was the secret spring of all he had done, 
and that the passion of his life was to see the Indians he 
loved raised to a high standard of Christian living and 
social well-being. 

And then came the fire to try his work and test his faith. 
Afterwards came the flood and swept away the material 
fruits of his toil and labour. And now he lay on his back, 
tired, worn out, suffering from pain and sickness, knowing 
that his work in the place and for the people so dear to 
him, was finished. Where was the reward of his faithful 
service ? Where was the answer to his prayers ? Where 
was the God in Whom he trusted, and the Saviour in Whose 
name he had preached and for Whose sake he had endured 
privations and faced perils and toiled through the blazing 
summer sun and the icy cold of many winters ? Was this 
to be the end of it all ? No, indeed ; this was not the 
end, nor had God forgotten His servant, nor were his 

211 



212 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

prayers of faith unanswered. And he knew all this with 
an assurance which made him rejoice with a quiet gladness 
in his heart. On April 21, 1919 — that is, nearly eighteen 
months after the flood — he was able to write : " This has 
been the most wonderful winter's work in the history of the 
Mission, and consequently in my life. It would almost 
require a small book to exhibit it properly in its natural 
and spiritual setting. I am just aching to get a chance of 
writing it up." 

What did he mean by this ? Ill-health prevented him 
from ever fulfilling his desire to write an account of what 
he could have told. But we know from other sources 
what he meant, and we also know that, beyond the date on 
which he wrote the words just quoted, the wonderful work 
to which he referred was still going on. 

The answer is found in the fulfilment of a desire he had 
cherished for the last ten or fifteen years of his life. This 
was the linking up of the two villages of Aiyansh and 
Gitlakdamiks. In 1909 he had mooted a scheme for taking 
down the old mission-house (then situated on the bank 
of the river) and, with the best of the old materials, build- 
ing a new house with a school adjoining it half-way between 
the two villages. For various reasons this scheme had 
fallen through. Now, after the flood, by the overruling 
providence of God, something much better came to pass. 

It will be remembered that the men of Aiyansh 1 decided 
to avoid the risk of another flood by taking down their 
houses and re-erecting them on the spaces allotted to them 
at Gitlakdamiks. " Here," writes Mrs. McCullagh, " the 
missionary at last saw the firstfruits of his labours at the 
village which had bnce held out so obstinately in its heathen 
prejudices against the intrusion of the Christian faith. The 
Indians at Gitlakdamiks welcomed their ' brothers ' from 
Aiyansh with outstretched arms, giving to them the best 
sites for their buildings, and in every way showing their 
desire to place the newcomers on an equal footing with 
themselves. And so, during those last three years of his 
life, the great desire of his heart was fulfilled ; for the two 
x See p. 208. 



SUNSET 213 

villages became one, and the people one — no longer two, 
but one people." 

In 191 1 the building of a church at Gitlakdamiks was 
commenced. Charles Morven and a few faithful helpers 
worked splendidly, so that by the time the flood came it 
was nearly finished. Then the west window of Holy Trinity 
Church at Aiyansh was taken out and, with some of the 
interior fittings, removed to Gitlakdamiks and there placed 
in St. Bartholomew's, helping to make it a really beautiful 
little church. 

At this latter village there was a town-hall, which was 
used for all kinds of purposes, mainly secular. A Church- 
hall was badly needed there, to be a centre of Christian 
work, and never to be used for any meetings which could 
keep alive the customs and feasts of the old heathen days. 
So the church at Aiyansh was taken down, removed to 
Gitlakdamiks, and there rebuilt as a Church Army Hall. 
Furthermore, the people at Aiyansh had been greatly 
humbled by the flood. They accepted it as an act of 
discipline intended for their good, and as a warning to 
discard the drink evil which had been the cause of their 
moral deterioration and religious backsliding. Those who 
came to settle in Gitlakdamiks did so under the inspiration 
of a new purpose — the resolve to abjure that which had so 
nearly been their spiritual undoing. The few who would 
not break with the drink-habit remained behind in the 
derelict village of Aiyansh. 

Three incidents took place at the mission-house at Git- 
lakdamiks during the winter of 1920-21, pathetic, inspir- 
ing, and also full of comfort and hope for the brave and 
faithful servant of God, whose end was nearer than he 
thought. These scenes left an indelible impression on 
the minds of those who were present, especially of the 
devoted wife who cherishes them as a sacred memory of 
that anxious time. 

1. When it became known at Lak-Kalzap that the mission- 
ary had resigned his oversight of their spiritual interests, 
the members of the Church Army came up the river (a 



214 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

distance of forty-six miles) to offer their sympathy and to 
say " Farewell. " One by one they entered the front door 
and passed through the house. Their voices shaking with 
emotion, they said " Good-bye " to him and assured him of 
the earnest prayers which were offered for him every night 
at the meetings of the Church Army. 

2. A chieftainship in the tribe became vacant during the 
winter. The choice of succession lay between Charles 
Morven and Paul Mercer. They both refused. Paul was 
pressed to accept it, but still refused, because he was afraid 
it might involve him in some acts contrary to his Chris- 
tian faith and profession. At length, after much earnest 
prayer, in which he laid the whole matter before the Lord, 
he offered to accept the honour which was urged upon him 
if he was allowed to receive it at the hands of God's servant 
the missionary ; on that condition alone would he consent 
to become chief. The rest of the tribe agreed to his pro- 
posal. And then took place a ceremony which, so far as I 
know, is unique and unprecedented in the annals of the 
North American Indians. On the day appointed for the 
ceremony, Paul came to the mission-house, dressed in his 
Sunday suit, accompanied by six chiefs and Charles 
Morven ; followed also by a large company of his fellow- 
tribesmen. They entered the drawing-room where the 
missionary was sitting in his robes (he was too weak to 
stand). A portion of the Office for the Ordination of 
Deacons, together with prayers selected for the occasion, 
was read, and then, with evident reverence and solemnity, 
Paul knelt at the feet of him whom he loved to call " Mas- 
ter." Laying his hands on the bent head, the missionary 
asked him in the words of the Catechism, " Dost thou 
renounce the devil and all his works, etc. ? " 

With steady voice the young Indian replied, " I do." 

Then, while he still remained on his knees, the insignia 
of his office were thrown across his shoulders, and he 
received the missionary's blessing. 

In describing the scene, Mrs. McCullagh adds : " It was 
a very impressive sendee ; it brings a lump into my throat 



1 



SUNSET 215 

when I think of it ; and Paul has been true to his promise, 
thank God." 

3. Once more a wonderful Service was held in that mis- 
sion-house, leaving behind it the fragrant memory of an 
act on which guardian-angels must have looked with 
joy and wonder. 

In the village were five babies whose parents wanted 
them to be baptized. They had a great desire that their 
own missionary, and no other, should sign the sign of the 
Cross on their little ones. By this time he was too weak to 
leave his bed — too weak even to read the Service or to 
utter more than the fewest necessary words. By his 
request, William Mercer robed and stood near the bed on 
which his "master" lay, and the children were brought into 
the sick-room. William had never used the Baptismal 
Office before ; but now, with much feeling and without 
making a single mistake, he read it through. A bowl of 
water was then held for the missionary. One by one William 
asked of the parents the appointed questions, then took 
each child and gently laid it on the bed, when the missionary 
signed the sign of the Cross on their brows and repeated 
the words, " We receive this child, etc." " They were lovely 
services indeed," adds Mrs. McCullagh, " but hard for me to 
bear. Many times ' a sword pierced through my heart.' " 

A great desire took possession of the sick man. If only 
he could get down to the coast and inhale the sea breezes, 
he thought he would get better. The Indians said that such 
a thing would prove a mad adventure, the temperature 
at that time being below zero ; but his craving for sea air 
was so strong that Mrs. McCullagh felt it wise to yield, and 
the Indians were persuaded to do their part in the under- 
taking. As soon as the decision was reached, preparations 
were at once made for the long journey. " I just had three 
days' notice," wrote Mrs. McCullagh, " to clear up all his 
business, pack all my belongings, and make final arrange- 
ments. During the three days, a strong stretcher or box 
had been made by our Indian friend and carpenter George 
Eli. This box was nearly six feet long, quite wide, and 



216 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

with high sides. A pole was stretched across the raised 
head and foot, so that a canvas could be thrown over it if 
necessary. Into this box the invalid was assisted, warmly 
clothed in woollen underwear, socks and his precious Jaeger 
dressing-gown — the last gift of his dear old friend, Mrs. 
Foquett — and he was then borne out of the large French 
window by a stalwart crew of Indians on to the balcony, 
and from thence to the waiting sleigh below. Maisie, our 
pet pony, was also ready in her little red sleigh to do her 
share in drawing the luggage, with Pat and Chris, who had 
elected to ride, and who thought it all great fun. The rest 
of the party walked, and as we passed through the village 
of Gitlakdamiks, every door in turn opened, the occupants 
of the house, descending the steps, joined us, till finally 
quite a procession was formed, moving slowly and quietly 
behind the smoothly gliding sleigh. 

" Each step of the way was a pleasure to the dear 
missionary, lying there so snug in his spacious feather bed. 
The fresh, frosty air seemed to put new life into him, and a 
happy smile lit up his face as he passed once again down 
the dear old ' Gospel road/ now covered five feet deep in 
beautiful white snow, which sparkled and shone in the 
bright sunlight. 

" All too soon slipped by those last moments, spent in 
happy converse with my dear ones to be left behind. Many 
were the words of encouragement and hope exchanged ; 
many were the silent prayers offered for strength to bear 
the long parting and for success to our venture. 

" Arrived at Aiyansh, a distance of two miles, the pro- 
cession was swelled to a large number by the remainder of 
our flock who were working at Aiyansh. A little farther 
on we were met by Mrs. Priestley, who had crossed over the 
river with her husband to wish us God-speed. A hard 
moment was this for us all. In the bright sunlight our 
dear invalid looked more pale and wan than she had seen 
him yet, and good-bye is always so hard to say to those we 
love. But as these sad thoughts dim her eye, a kindly 
whisper from the sleigh meets her ear : ' Never mind, dear, 
never mind. It is better so/ Yes, truly better so. 



SUNSET 217 

"So we gather up our courage and proceed the few 
remaining steps to the river's edge, where awaits us, in all 
its grace and beauty, a real old-time war-canoe ! What 
memories, dear heart, does not that conjure up before your 
vision ! What recollections of hairbreadth escapes, of 
trials and excitements, of joys and sorrows and conquests 
in those adventurous years long since passed away ? How 
fitting, was it not ? that this great war- veteran of Christ's 
Kingdom should so travel on his last journey down the 
dear old Naas ! 

" After the box had been lifted into position and the 
crew and myself had taken the places allotted to us, there 
comes a pause. The missionary is far too weak for the 
usual prayer and blessing which precede our goings and 
comings on those dangerous waters. Who would fill his 
place ? No need for me to doubt or question. Out of the 
stillness rises the voice of an elder, clear and unfaltering, 
earnestly praying that all may be well with the dear master 
now leaving them for the last time, and that the flock left 
behind may remain faithful and true to their Master in 
heaven. Then some one started a hymn, such a beautiful 
hymn, rising clear and full from every throat, into the pure 
air — one seemed to take wings and fly away too like a bird. 
A few more earnest, heartfelt prayers were uttered, and 
then, to the soul-stirring strains of the parting hymn, ' God 
be with you till we meet again/ the great canoe slipped 
noiselessly away down the slow-flowing river. For a 
moment a white hand appears above the enveloping blan- 
kets and flutters feebly a handkerchief from the side of the 
canoe — a silent last farewell from him they love. I see and 
hear it all as I write. There was not a dry eye amongst us/ 
and there was absolutely no sound as the last words died 
away — ' Till we meet at Jesu's feet/ God grant that not 
one may be missing when the great, joyful day comes. 
You, at least, faithful servant, have done your part, and 
already many happy souls await you across the shining river. 

" The river being open from Aiyansh to Gwinoha, the 
first part of our journey was easily accomplished. In a 
couple of hours we reached Gwinoha and found a comfort- 



218 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

able resting-place for the night in Chief Paul Zalie's nice bi{ 
house. A large spring bed and mattress were brought 
for the invalid, which insured a good night's rest for hii 
an important thing, as the next day was likely to try t( 
the utmost his limited strength. As a night in camp w; 
out of the question for him in his serious condition, it w; 
necessary to make a very early start next morning, so as to 
cover in one day the twenty-five miles between Gwinoha 
and Lak-Kalzap. 

" The river was still navigable for a few more miles, but 
it was considered safest to leave the canoe at Gwinoha and 
follow the track, which was frozen and should prove good 
going. This, however, turned out to be the hardest part of 
the journey, for the ice in places was not fit to pass over, so 
the river bank had to be scaled and a rough trail followed 
through the thick forest which lies on either side of the 
river. Up and down the sleigh tipped and rocked and 
rolled. Once it actually overturned, but by heroic efforts 
was righted before much damage was done. Not a word 
or sound of discomfort was heard from the occupant, who 
now, as always, was game. Yet his real sensations were 
later on discovered, in answer to the doctor's questions as 
to how he liked the sleigh ride ? ' Oh, it was all right. I 
think I travelled on my head most of the way.' Truly 
thankful were we all to find ourselves once more on the 
smooth-frozen river, and from there onwards, as far as the 
trail was concerned, the worst was over. 

" I must now tell you of my beautiful white ' bird of good 
omen.' She appeared quite suddenly beside the trail, so 
near that the sleigh leader might have put out his hand and 
gathered her up. She was bigger than a pigeon,and was a 
pure lustrous white — even the snow on which she sat in such 
friendly stillness was no whiter. Not in all my backwoods 
wanderings had I seen a bird like this, and the Indians, too, 
came babbling on with expressions of surprise and admira- 
tion. ' Whence came you ? whither going ? ' I wondered. 
' No member of a noisy emigrating flock of birds are you/ 
No, just a gentle dove, a comforter, sent perhaps from the 
skies from which she seemed to come and to which she 



SUNSET 219 

seemed as suddenly to return, to bring a thought of comfort 
to an anxious and rather fearful woman's heart. " 

Thus the missionary's wife referred to herself ; but she 
must have had a very brave heart. She had to walk on 
foot that long day's journey down the frozen river, helped 
by leaning on one of the sleighs. Her strength gave out at 
last and, when near Lak-Kalzap, she fell down footsore and 
exhausted. Room was made for her on the front of her 
husband's sleigh, the Indian crew making light of her extra 
weight, only saying how sorry they were they had not 
known sooner she was so tired. " They thought she was 
enjoying herself ! " At Lak-Kalzap they were held up for 
five days by a severe storm, the wind blowing strong and 
cold from the north. 

" On the fifth day of our sojourn at Lak-Kalzap, the wind 
abated, and in due time some of the Kincolith boys arrived 
with our own messengers, to tell us the journey was now 
possible and the boat awaiting as soon as we could get off. 
Just before we left, a young girl came in with a parting gift 
for the missionary ; and what do you think it was ? A vase 
of the wonderfully sweet-scented cotton-leaves ! My hus- 
band's one regret that we had heard him express on leaving 
Aiyansh, was that our departure was too early for him once 
again to see and smell those exquisite leaves which had 
been his joy and delight year by year as the spring opened 
up. And here, nearly two months before the season, his 
desire was fulfilled ! I still see his smile of delight as the 
young girl offered them, and still treasure some of the 
leaves in memory of a wonderful little miracle Nature 
worked to do my dear husband this pleasure as he left his 
1 Valley of Eternal Bloom ' for the last time. 

" There were two hours of a rough and winding trail over 
and around the massed ice-floats, and a short and difficult 
mile or two along the river-bank, ere we reached the 
waiting gas-boat. Here our last and saddest farewells took 
place with the Morvens and a few faithful boys, who had 
seen us safely through the hazardous journey and were now 
about to depart on their return trip, leaving us in the care 
of friends from Kincolith. 



220 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

" It was icy cold on the open water, but the invalid 
imbibed the sea air with great breaths of satisfaction, and 
oh ! how good it was to see his earnest desire for those 
same breezes at last fulfilled." 

A week's delay was necessary at Kincolith, as the mail- 
boat had just departed. A welcome was given to the 
invalid and his wife at the house of Archdeacon Collison, 
where medical supervision and trained nursing restored 
him for the time. " It was a pleasure to watch his keen 
enjoyment of his food and his growing appetite. But, alas ! 
the same trouble was there, strong as ever — he could not 
keep his food down. Always within a couple of hours there 
would be the same terrible vomiting, followed by a period 
of great exhaustion. 

" A week slipped quickly by, and once again, after many 
solemn farewells, we started on the last part of our journey. 
The ' Friendly Helpers/ a band of stalwart young Indians 
who had formed themselves into this company for the pur- 
pose of giving their services to those in need of it, for the 
sake of the Gospel, carried the missionary once more, 
comfortably tucked up in his box, down the long road to 
the landing-stage where a gas-boat was in readiness to take 
us across the water to Arrandale Cannery. The landing at 
Arrandale was a difficult and arduous task, for the tide 
being low, the heavy box had to be borne across the slip- 
pery rocks for a good distance. The good-will of the boys, 
however, never faltered ; so we finally reached the wharf 
and waited there in the darkness for the coming of the 
steamer. It was good to get on board at last and see the 
dear invalid comfortably established in a state-room. Ere 
leaving, the ' Friendly Helpers ' filed in one by one and 
solemnly wished him good-bye and God-speed. 

" Thanks to the wonderful ' wireless ' we were able to 
make our needs known in advance ; so our good friends Dr. 
Kergin and the Indian Agent, Mr. Collison, were on the 
wharf to meet us at Prince Rupert, with the ambulance in 
readiness. When the doctor saw my husband's condition, 
he just slipped off his coat, gathered him up in his arms, 
and carried him with infinite care to the stretcher, on which 



SUNSET 221 

he was taken to the waiting ambulance below. In spite of 
a few protests from the missionary (who, though so weak, 
knew just what he wanted to do, and vice versa), he was 
promptly whirled off to the hospital, where he was able at 
last to get the full advantage of medical skill and trained 
nursing. 

" You may imagine how comforting to my anxious heart 
was the answer given to the doubting question, ' Have I 
done right in risking his precious life to bring him down to 
you, doctor ? ' ' Right ! indeed you have done right ; you 
have done the only thing ! ' " 

He lived for about two months after being brought to 
the hospital. Happily, God enabled him to rest without 
anxious thoughts about his loved ones or his work. " He 
just felt his work was fully completed, and he was quite 
content to leave his flock in stronger hands and to rest in his 
weakness. He slept most of the time, and spoke very little, 
sometimes talking low in Indian. He was always glad to 
see me sitting beside him, reading or writing, but never 
asked how I was or how the children were — too weak even 
to feel being parted from them, though he was able to 
kiss and name them in turn when they visited him in the 
hospital on their arrival from Aiyansh, a fortnight before 
his death. This is what helped me so much ; for to realize 
what I was suffering would have given anguish to his tender 
thoughtful soul." 

Miss Gambles, who brought the children from Aiyansh, 
was a great comfort to Mrs. McCullagh as well as to the 
dying missionary during his last days. 

On Easter Day he received the Holy Communion at the 
hands of Canon Rix and was able to join in the Service with 
a full clear voice and, at the close of it, he said to Canon 
Rix, " Brother, this is no mere form to me." 

On May i, 1921, his brave spirit was released from its 
earthly tabernacle. He was buried, in his robes, in the 
special part of Fairview Cemetery at Prince Rupert re- 
served for Church people. The Service here was conducted 
by Canon Rix. " Everything," wrote Mrs. McCullagh, 
"was just as it should be. My great desire was to strike the 



222 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 






note of triumph. So the usual hymns were not chosen. I 
selected instead, ' Fight the good fight/ ' There is a Happy 
Land,' and ' Now thank we all our God.' I felt it would 
have been a poor thing not to be able to rejoice with him 
that he was so quietly and painlessly called into his glory. 
His grave was lined all round with beautiful evergreens, so 
that it seemed just like laying him down in one of those 
beds of cedar in which he had so often rested in his old 
times of camping out." 

" So He giveth His beloved sleep." 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

Character and Service 

SOMETIMES, after reading a biography, we close the 
book with a feeling of disappointment ; we are 
not satisfied that the author has given us a true life- 
portrait. The colouring of the picture seems too bright 
to be real. We say to ourselves, " Surely the man must 
have had some faults of character ; but his biographer has 
not shown them to us and, glad as we are to know all about 
his goodness, his noble deeds and the fine example he has 
set, we should also like to know what were those infirmities 
of disposition wherein he showed himself to be human like 
ourselves." 

Were there no faults in the character of McCullagh ? 
or are we to suppose that he was so perfect that he never 
made a mistake ? Of course, he had faults, like other 
men ; of course, he made mistakes, as every one does. 
There were flaws in his character, but they did not go 
deep enough to mar seriously the value of his life's 
work. 

I should say that, naturally, he had a quick temper. 
But certainly he learned, as every true Christian does learn, 
the secret of controlling it. 

'* Although,' * writes Mrs. McCullagh, " he acquired 
among the Indians the name of being quick-tempered and 
easily made angry, he had the most wonderful power of 
self-control I have ever seen ; his indignation, invariably, 
partook of the character of righteous wrath, and so it 
always brought good with it." 

There were times when severity was necessary in dealing 
with the Indians — severity backed up by the force of strong 

223 



224 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

will-power. An instance of this occurred at Lak-Kalzap, 
just before McCullagh took over the mission there from 
the Methodist Church. There had been a drunken brawl 
in the village. He called the chiefs together and " put 
the whole crowd of brawlers through the mill," fining the 
principal offender, a leading chief, fifty dollars, with the 
option of two months' hard labour. " He was very proud 
and defiant ; but a steady look into his eyes of two 
minutes' duration worked wonders in him, and he paid his 
fine." The others also paid the fines separately imposed 
on them. 

"It is no easy matter," he wrote, after describing 
this, " for an unsupported white man, 800 miles practically 
from the seat of law and order, to tackle a tribe of Indians, 
single-handed, and bring them to time and attention. 
Very willingly would I avoid and evade doing this kind of 
thing ; but then, what would the harvest be ? It requires 
the working up of enormous will-power to do it ; and it 
leaves me very weak and limp afterwards. But it would 
not do for them to think that ; one's eye must never 
weaken in their sight." 

His most conspicuous fault (if fault it could be called) 
was an optimism which was not always justified. But 
is not this the common failing of all enthusiasts ? Is it 
indeed possible for anyone to become an enthusiast in a 
good cause without being an optimist, with the risk, always 
attached, of making mistakes, great or small ? The 
highest and noblest work in the world is done by men of 
vision ; and McCullagh certainly may be reckoned among 
them. But the man of vision can scarcely help some- 
times becoming a visionary ; it is a part of his nature 
and temperament. In his eagerness to achieve great 
things he is liable to create ideals which are beyond his 
power to realize. The failure is not always his fault ; 
frequently it is owing to the lack of enthusiasm in others 
who could help him but will not. Has there ever lived an 
enthusiast who has not at some time become the victim of 
his own illusions ? 

" I dream dreams and see visions," said Raphael, 



CHARACTER AND SERVICE 225 

" and then I paint my dreams and my visions." But 
he must have had many a dream which never materialized 
and seen many a vision which was never transferred from 
his brain to the canvas or the fresco. So it was with 
McCullagh, the practical worker and man of action. 
Many of his letters breathe the passionate desire he felt for 
the welfare and progress of the Indians along lines where 
they could never travel. In 1905 he wrote : " Plans and 
calculations crowd my brain. I seem to see, as a seer, 
the glorious things lying within future possibility. In 
my secret heart and in my dream-prayers I sigh for the 
realization of hopes which, circumstanced as we are at 
present, only a dreamer, perhaps, would dare to conceive. 
But why should God's work go ' a begging ' ? Is not the 
promise still good that ' whatsoever we ask according 
to His will we shall receive ' ? I believe it with all my 
heart." 

For many years his mind was full of a project for the 
betterment of the Indians' social condition. He called 
it " A Proposed Settlement Scheme for Aiyansh." He 
talked to the Indians about it incessantly ; he referred 
to it constantly in his sermons ; "in season and out of 
season " he strove to create among them an atmosphere 
of desire and ambition for that which he believed would, 
more than anything else that was secular, raise them 
to a position of permanent stability and progress as the 
citizens of a great Empire. He obtained from the 
Government a grant of land for the purpose ; he drew a 
map of the whole Reserve with allotments coloured, 
and hung it up for the Indians to see ; but he could 
only prevail on a very few of them to stake their claims, 
and the scheme failed in the end, owing partly to the 
natural indolence of the red man and partly to his want 
of confidence in his white rulers. The Indians have a 
deep-rooted suspicion of the good faith of the white man's 
Government ! 

On several occasions, during the later years of his life, 
overtures were made to McCullagh by company promoters 
in British Columbia. They stated their object plainly ; 



226 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

they had heard of the influence he wielded over the Indians, 
of his intimate knowledge of the value of land, and of his 
expert acquaintance with the mineral resources of the 
country, etc. ; if he would agree to place his experience at 
their disposal they would give him a large interest in their 
shares. But he always refused. Speaking of this, he 
said, " If I had yielded to the temptation I might have 
been a rich man, possibly a millionaire to-day, and I 
have been called a fool for my scruples ; but I will live and 
die the poor man that I am rather than give the Indians 
any reason for thinking that I would make gain out 
of them or become rich at their expense." 

His unselfish generosity and thoughtful sympathy for 
the needy and suffering Indians may be instanced by an 
extract from a private letter written in 1904 : "I could 
not help smiling at your advice that I should get rubber 
boots. I invest in these things and in oilskins regularly 
every year, but I can't keep them ; that is where the 
difficulty comes in. Some unfortunate consumptive is 
sure to get them when the bad weather begins. However, 
it is very seldom I am the worse for the want." 

He had a big heart, full of sympathy and affection 
for his fellow-men, both white and red ; but the best 
part of all he was and all he had was ever kept in 
reserve for those who had the strongest claim on him ; 
his love for his wife and children overflowed with joy 
and passionate devotion and tender solicitude for their 
welfare and happiness. 

His love of nature comes out on many a page of his 
journals and letters ; his power of observation must have 
been remarkable, as also was his gift for interpreting the 
inner and deeper meaning of the things he saw. He 
seemed never to fail in the use of picturesque and poetic 
language in which to describe the glory of the mountains 
and the beauty of the valley, whether clothed in its 
summer verdure or wrapped in its winter mantle of snow 
and ice. Thus he wrote : • " I do love to get as near as I 
can to Nature ; there is a great affection between us ; she 
speaks to me things that I cannot find words to express, 



CHARACTER AND SERVICE 227 

and I rejoice to hear what she says and to see what she 
reveals. " She is really more to me than the social world 
from which I am cut off. There is no hiatus between 
her converse and the things of heaven ; her earthly 
things have also a heavenly meaning." 

And yet, although cut off for the greater part of his life 
from the social world, he kept himself well acquainted 
with all that was going on ; his active brain was a safe- 
guard against the possibility of vegetating. " His interest 
in tfje world and its doings never slacked," wrote his 
wife ; "he read the newspaper (often months late) with 
avidity, and he had wise opinions at all times to offer upon 
every subject." 

On reading through his letters one sometimes comes 
across bits of philosophy about human life, its secrets of 
success and failure, written in his clear-flowing trenchant 
style. — For instance : " The opportunity for a life-work 
only comes to a man once. I think history will bear out 
that statement. And I notice that the biggest life- 
works of which we have reliable records all had very 
humble beginnings. The men who performed them did 
their chores to begin with, endured the contradiction and 
contumely of adversaries, opposed no pride, took no 
offence, ate their peck of dirt bravely, took root, grew 
up into their work and at last branched out into full 
fruit-bearing before the astonished world." 

His own work was never recognized as it deserved. Earthly 
honours did not come his way, and he neither sought nor 
desired them. In reading through his j ournals and private 
letters I have come across no sentence in which there is a 
word of self-praise, nor has he anywhere betrayed a sign 
of personal ambition or the feeling of disappointment and 
wounded vanity at being passed over. The absence of 
any spirit of self-seeking was equally noticeable in con-, 
versation with him. He never seemed to think that he 
had done anything great. 

The varied nature of his gifts and the practical uses to 
which he applied them could not be summarized better 
than in the testimony of the late Dr. Jacob, Bishop of 



228 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

St. Albans. When writing (in 1907) about the history of 
the mission at Aiyansh, he said : 

" It is much more than the conversion of a tribe of Red Indians 
from savagery to Christianity. It is the story of the building-up of 
a Christian society by one man, who has been the principal agent 
in their remarkable transformation, one whom I have known and 
whose career I have followed for many years. Whether as evange- 
list, pastor, doctor, architect, builder, designer, printer, photo- 
grapher, carver, administrator of justice, sanitary reformer, expert 
on salmon, on which so many of his tribes depend, and general 
civilizing and humanizing, as well as Christianizing agent, Mr. 
McCullagh realized that Christianity must permeate life and 
consecrate every department of it." 

Among the tributes written in appreciation of the man 
and his work are the following : — 

From the Rev. Oliver Thorne (his successor at 
Aiyansh) : 

" I keep finding out matters that increase my admiration for 
the genius of McCullagh. Fancy ! he knew he was to die, and 
before he went out he formed a permanent Church council of 
most of the old men of the village. They were to stay in power, 
and they were to add only as they lost members by death. They 
were to be responsible for both the spiritual and material welfare 
of the Church. McCullagh knew the somewhat childish nature 
of the Indian, always running after a novelty ; so he formed 
tins council of the elders to steady the younger element. All 
— Church Army, wardens, choir, women workers and Y.M.C.A. 
— all are under the guardianship of the Church Council and can 
start no innovation without their approval." 

From the Church Missionary Society : 

" The Committee have received with sorrow the news of the 
death, on May 1, of James Benjamin McCullagh, of the British 
Columbia Mission. . . . By his earnest devotion as a messenger 
for Christ Jesus, by a forceful manliness, by a great heart of 
love for Indians and Europeans alike, and by unfailing courage 
coupled with winning humour, he gained a position of unique 
influence among the Naas Indians and hardly less among the 
many European traders and others with whom he had contact 
at Prince Rupert and elsewhere." 

From the Archbishop of Caledonia (F. H. Du Vernet, 
D.D.) : 



CHARACTER AND SERVICE 229 

" Rightly to appreciate the wonderful work accomplished it 
would be necessary to have before one, first an accurate picture 
of what the Upper Naas Indians were like thirty-eight years 
ago, and then to bring into vivid contrast with this what they 
are like to-day. Degrading heathenism is now a thing of the 
past on the Upper Naas River, and the Indians on the whole 
are an intelligent and fine band of people, not yet perfect by any 
manner of means, but steadily progressing, enlightened by the 
Gospel of Christ. This is the great memorial to that veteran 
of the Cross who so dearly loved this picturesque valley and these 
native people. 

" When I spoke to him on Ins dying bed of his noble work, 
he replied, that ' it was no credit to him, as he had enjoyed the 
work from beginning to end.' This was one of the secrets of 
his success : his heart was in his work. 

" He was highly gifted as a linguist, and delighted in comparing 
verbal roots of various languages. His early military training 
never left him, and often proved of service when, as a justice 
of the peace, he maintained law and order. He was a man of 
visions and could dream dreams. Some of his dreams he helped 
to turn into realities. His gift of pictorial description and his 
fervid Irish eloquence captured his audiences when home on 
deputation work. He will long be remembered on both sides 
of the Atlantic. 

" When repeating to him the text, ' The Eternal God is thy 
Refuge and underneath are the Everlasting Arms,' though I 
made no reference to his speedy departure he replied, ' I am 
ready, I am willing to go.' " 

What was the hidden source of his power and success ? 
— the underlying and uplifting motive by which he was 
inspired ? 

Let his own pen give us the answer and reveal the 
secret. He had been describing the hard work of those 
early years of the misson when he was learning the lan- 
guage and afterwards when he was translating the Bible. 
Many times he tells us that he sat at his desk all night 
in order to get the quiet he needed for such work — the 
quiet which was denied him in the day-time through 
frequent interruptions on the part of the Indians. He 
went on to write : "I slaved and slaved. Yes, I glory in the 
word Slave of Jesus Christ. Paul exclaimed with joy 
dovXoq eljul, and it is with joy and thankfulness for the 
privilege that I also cry dovXoq et/ui. It rings like music 



230 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

in my ears ; it thrills me ; it buoys me up amid the waves 
of discouragement, more than does the hope of glory. I 
crave not for glory. ' Thine is the glory, and I am Thy 
servant/ I often wonder if we shall have work to do 
when we cross the border. I trust so : I love to look 
forward to an eternity of work and worship for Him who is 
my glorious Chief, perfect in every particular. To rise 
with Him into battle ! The thought makes me feel like a 
flame of fire ! " 



Epilogue 

HOW can we summarize the impressions made on our 
minds by a study of the life-story of James 
Benjamin McCullagh ? What can we learn from him 
whose gifts and energies for nearly forty years were 
dedicated to the glory of God in that far-away valley of 
our Empire ? 

Three facts of supreme value stand out clearly. 

First, there is the power of the eternal Gospel. 

This was the uplifting, regenerating force by which the 
Nishga Indians were redeemed from cannibalism, cruelty, 
superstition and ignorance. No human hands could 
have performed such a miracle without this divinely- 
wrought lever. There is no record on the pages of history 
where a transformation so marvellous has been effected by 
any other means. This challenge is made without any 
fear of refutation. 

And what the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ did for the 
Indians on the Naas River it can accomplish for any other 
people or nation all the world over. The grace of God, 
which made a new creation of the Red Indian on spiritual, 
ethical and material lines, is the one thing also needed 
by the white races on both sides of the Atlantic. Nothing 
else can cure the moral cancer which is sapping the life 
out of Europe. Concerning all ranks and classes among 
us it is equally true to say, " There is no other Name 
under heaven given among men whereby we must be 
saved." Jesus Christ alone can produce order and 
harmony in place of the chaos and the discord of con- 
flicting passions which are so glaringly patent in the 
political arena, in the industrial markets and workshops 
of the world and in the home-life of the nation. 

231 



232 McCULLAGH OF AIYANSH 

Secondly, " God works, His wonders to perform," by 
the agency of human lives, kindled into the flame of a 
consecrated resolve and fanned into action by the breath 
of His Spirit. How great is the honour conferred upon us 
sinful men that we should be taken into partnership 
with the Holy One and used by Him for carrying out His 
purpose of love in the regeneration of our fellow-men ! 
It is the conscious possession of this bright secret which 
inspires the missionary to abandon the comforts and 
joys of home-life in order to lay out in unselfish devotion 
the treasures of faith and knowledge and love entrusted 
to him as talents to be spent in his Master's name. 

If this sublime truth were fully realized and universally 
acknowledged by Christian people, there would soon be 
no land unvisited, no nation unreached by the messengers 
of the Lord Christ, no lack of financial aid to equip and 
provision the soldiers of the Cross for their glorious crusade. 

And thirdly, there is the divinely-appointed law of 
human influence — the moral force and inspiration of 
example, which should awaken into life and quicken anew 
in each one of us the burning aspiration to apply our 
talents to a more effective use than we have yet done. 

Of the first saint and martyr who lived for the glory of 
God and died as the penalty of his loyalty to the truth, 
it was said, some four thousand years later, " He, being 
dead, yet speaketh." The last page of this book is written 
within eighteen months of the day when the hero of the story 
entered into his rest. With the memory of his zeal, his 
toil, his battles against the powers of darkness, his con- 
quests over sin and Satan and his burning love for his 
Saviour, let his example inspire and nerve us all to a 
nobler purpose, a more devoted self-sacrifice, a more 
generous enthusiasm and a stronger faith in the presence 
and power of our divine Master and Redeemer — " Jesus 
Christ Himself." ^^ 

^585 

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